Why Flickr?

North Geelong, Victoria, Australia 2022-10-26 14:12:21
North Geelong, Victoria, Australia 2022-10-26 14:12:21

Back in 2004 when I first signed up for a free flickr account I had no idea what I was doing with the service. I did know that the volume of digital files I was creating with both cameras and smartphones needed to be seen and shared. Flickr’s initial offering allowed users to create sets as they were called then and also join groups. Groups could have an obvious common theme or be rearlly obscure. JG Ballard is an obscure group, whereas Paths we walk is more obvious. These seemed to be a great way to share my work.

Deer Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2022-12-12 13:03:49
Deer Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2022-12-12 13:03:49

Outside of these ideas albums allows me to interconnect images. Historically an exhibition has an overarching idea, the work on the walls expressses this.  The viewer can choose to walk through the space and engage anyway they see fit.

North Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 202-10-25 16:26:42
North Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2022-10-25 16:26:42

Albums on a site like flickr are a far more web like experience, non linear and open-ended. Each picture I post can have multiple ideas runnng though it. I achieve this by putting images in mutiple albums from a simple time based one, for the year the image was made for example, to other ideas that constantly run though my work. Some of those ideas have their roots in the Situationists and their ideas about the derive. Others explore the added metadata that can add a layer of context or meaning to an image.

Pascoe Vale, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2022-12-12 16:25:53
Pascoe Vale, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2022-12-12 16:25:53

Lastly, each image I choose to upload needs to speak to the preceding image in some way. This forms an angoing process that has me dipping into my archive regularly. The connections may be obvious, subject matter or location for example, or subtle like line, shape or composition. I treat my feed as a permanent 24/7/365 gallery. Available for all the world to see.

Deep down this does not really answer why I photograph the places I do, or even what drives me to pick up a camera. Perhaps that idea is for another day?

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr ☚

Ruminations on Flickr?

This post originally appeared on my old free WordPress site, and as we approach 20 years of flickr I thought it was worth re-sharing here.


Flickr was launched on February 10, 2004 by Ludicorp, a Vancouver-based company founded by Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake. I stumbled upon it somehow in late 2004. At the time I was a bit over fiddling with my vicnet site and my tripod site

wikipedia table of popular image sharing sites
wikipedia table of popular image sharing sites

I had at least one blog at the time on blogger. I had a looked at several of the fledgling services on offer at the time. Some are on this list on wikipedia. None of which really appealed to me. Flickr however seemed somehow more ‘edgy’. I signed up, and off I began on a wild journey of discovery. I began with a free account and kept my uploads within the free parameters for a while, but very quickly saw the benefit of a ‘pro’ account.

I was vaguely aware of online communities as I had been online since 1995. And as a voracious reader I was constantly following links all over the shop learning tons on the way. But this was my first ‘community’.

Those first few years on flickr were amazing I got to meet  many wonderful local photographers and engage with many international ones too. The Melbourne group in particular was very social and we met quite regularly for a while. We even organised a group exhibition in 2006. It was entitled ‘Web to Wall’ and was held at a gallery called Smith Street Gallery.

flyer for the Melbourne Flickr exhibition
flyer for the Melbourne Flickr exhibition

One thing that has always struck me was how many of the Melbourne flickr community had an IT background. The late 90s and early 2000s in my memory was a good time for people in that industry. Many were in their 30s and were in demand and paid well. They could afford expensive cameras and computer hardware that was also expensive. Was this a trend across flickr, maybe, it’s hard to tell? But I feel the convergence of high speed internet, new and cheaper digital cameras and lowering costs of software and hardware along with the demographic, augmented the rise of flickr.

The first few years I didn’t really have much of an idea out what I was uploading and why. I had no plan or direction. Eventually I worked things out. More on this in a future post. It is plain to me that I use the service in a very differently to a lot of flickr’s users. And for this reason flickr is still very important to me.

My flickr statistics in February 2023
My flickr statistics in February 2023

The statistics alone make it worthwhile. My work would only ever have been seen by a small group of people who were able to attend my physical exhibitions.

academia.edu listing iof papers on or about flickr.com
Screen grab of results from academia.edu on Thursday the 9th of March 2023

Also over the years flickr has been part of a subset of research that looked at photography, the web, social media and the networked image. A search on acedemia.edu, for example  reveals over 80 thousand results. This also makes the service in my mind completely relevant.


About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs.
☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr