Flickr – Drawing the light
Flickr's creators began cyber life with the short-lived 'Game Neverending' – but their photo-sharing site seems set to run and run.
Ever since Ibn al-Haytham invented the camera obscura in Basra in the 10th century we have marveled at how photography can inspire us and move us, whether it be our own snaphots of a new-born child or grim reportage of war.
Flickr is the brainchild of Ludicorp, the creators of the short lived 'Game Neverending'. GNE was a multiplayer game, all about sharing. And Flickr is just that: a permanent, constantly growing exhibition of photography, building a social record of sorts of our lives and times. It has been online since 2004.
Many bloggers use Flickr photos to illuminate or illustrate their sites, as do many commercial websites. More and more photographers allow their photos to be used alongside text so long as their work is suitably credited. It’s not for money – as there is rarely a fee - but simply for the thrill of seeing their work in action.
Flickr people love photography, you only have to follow some of the comments added below the images to see that it’s all about encouragement, a digital pat on the back for work well done, a big thumbs up for finding inspiration. Fellow users have their favourites, awarding blue ribbons, shields of excellence and all manner of other titles in recognition of fellow ‘flickrs’.
If you’re new to Flickr (because you’ve been on the cyberworld equivalent of Planet Zog) the images you will find in the millions upon millions of Flickr pages could be anything from a macro close-up of a fly (‘My first successful macro shot of an insect!’) to something altogether scarier in the shape of a tiger shark (‘Beauty’ )
In June 2007, Flickr changed the tagline on its logo to "Flickr loves you". It’s clearly reciprocal since, across the web, many sing the praises of the Flickr experience, from Teen/nerd (“The content is amazing and some of the photographers have ability that is other worldly. I was looking for some interesting pictures and I typed in ‘holding the sun’”) to Shannon loves Sabbath, who collects photos of ‘digital deers’.
Some have only come across the ‘groups’ late on in their Flickr life but once they are in a group or creating a group, it seems almost unanimously to enrich the experience even more. Alex Barnet was one of these Johnny-come-latelys: “I never really got the 'Groups' thing until this week. Sad, but true. And I'm loving it. There is a new depth to Flickr I'm discovering that seems simply amazing to me.”
It hasn’t all been plain-sailing since some faithful users were up in arms when Yahoo took over and have recently mutinied over the inclusion of video material (surely an inevitable progression for the site).
Expatica has recently launched its own Flickr group (expatica pool) with the aim of creating a space where both internationals and locals in expatica’s six ‘home countries’ – and beyond – can upload their material. Images can be of the country’s palaces, churches and parks, its traditions, people and quirks, its mountains, seas and skies.
The expatica group is growing daily. Some of the pics already in the pool group are:
From the Netherlands vijaykiran’s keukenhof 58
From Belgium… The Head of the Eternal Flame…
Contrasting images of France...
both from the prolific lens of vpzone.
Personally I Love Flickr because you stumble upon unusual photographs on every visit. A favourite recent photo of mine is antwerpalan's elegy to the humble frites.
The word photography comes from the Greek phos (light) and graphê (drawing). So get out your Olympus and draw the light of your adopted country.
To join our Flickr group: expatica pool
(expatica May 2008)