I’d like to direct this post to those involved in the well known website There’s something I’ve wanted to tell for a long time. The website has the following title on it’s homepage: The Best Airplane Information, Aviation Photos and Aviation News! I have to admit, as a database, Anet is a very good website. In 99.9% of the cases I’ll find the info I need. It has a good search system and everything works perfect. As an aviation newssite it’s probably fine too. I don’t read the forums or basically anything besides the homepage. So I won’t judge about that. Now, about the best aviation photos part. I don’t think so. Not at all. Not the slightest bit! 

I guess I should explain first what I consider to be a good photo (I’m not saying that I make good photo’s!). A good photo for me is one which evokes a feeling. It could basically be anything: happiness, loneliness, astonishment, … And those feelings are evoked by great timing, composition, colours, lighting, …

By using this definition 95% of the photo’s on airliners aren’t good. When focusing on the top 5 photo’s it almost makes me cry. Most of the times it’s and interior shot, a Sint-Maarten landingshot, some airliner taking off or landing, or 5 pics from the same plane making its maiden flight.

“And your point is?” I hear you think. My point is that Anet shouldn’t claim to be a website with good aviation photo’s. It’s not. It’s a good database and their ridiculous rules for accepting a picture are not based on what a good photo is but on what a good photo for a database is. And that’s a big difference. My point is also that people should stop watching aviation photo’s with ‘Anet eyes’. For some reason a lot of photographers start to adopt the same rules as the Anet screeners (of which I really wonder how they feel when declining actual good photo’s…) My point is also, that because of it’s status as good photo site, potential buyers and users of aviation photo’s simply search on Anet to find what they want. And by that they’re actually missing a lot of good things. I always feel bad when I’m contacted for a photo on Anet simply because I know they have actually missed my best pics.

For that I’d like to say to Anet: change your rules for acceptance or get back to and claim to be what you actually are; an airplane database…



14 thoughts on “Dear

  1. So true, but you forgot to speak about the people who pays… It’s interesting to see that the screener rules seems different for free users and those who pay.


    1. Screeners also seem to have different rules for some people they just happen to know (I guess). Some pictures that are uploaded surely don’t meet the rules…


  2. Hello Giel!

    Couldn’t agree more. The vast majority of images on are what i call “record” shots…nothing more. They possess not the faintest hint of art. As a consequence, I seldom go there, unless I want to see if their “standards” have changed…which they haven’t.

    They are very successful, however, in teaching an entire generation what mediocre art should look like…

    John Slemp


    1. Hey John, thanks. I also watch from time to time, hoping something would have changed.
      “They are very successful, however, in teaching an entire generation what mediocre art should look like…” -> Couldn’t agree more!


  3. I’ve never considered ‘spotting photography’ as an art form in itself, it’s database photography as you say. Some photographers however push the boundaries, and they produce aviation art photography, and it can be found on a great many (personal) websites, on flicker, and other sites which lack a database function. I’m not a regular user of anymore, I just sometimes use it to look up a recent image of a particular aircraft, in over 90% of cases that search is successful. I would never use ‘’ and ‘art’ in the same sentence, except if there also was a ‘not’ in that sentence.


  4. Hello and a nice opinion post — it is intelligent and provocative! How refreshing to read 🙂 I don’t entirely agree with you as your definition of best may not meet the standards of others. Is Anet a date base for the description of aircraft? If the answer is yes then their photos are excellent since they illustrate the aircraft. Are they artful or evocative as many of yours are? Rarely. It is not really an artful or journalistic database, for me, though it does give me information about locations and that is my primary use of it. I also agree with John Slemp (a commenter, above) except that I’d expand and say the internet both brings us great works as well as generally watering down the minimum quality and the minimum standards people accept for the sake of convenience.


    1. Thanks for the kind reply! Yes of course Anet is a database site and their pics are great for that. The problem is that people mix up these rules for what makes a good database pictures with the rules of what makes a great photo in general. (And I do like Anet as a database 🙂 )


  5. Yes, people do mix up technical photos with great ones 😦 We have no choice but to keep shooting though, don’t we?


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