One holiday activity has been some overdue clean up of my pile of flickr photos.

It’s time soon to package my album of daily photos for 2020 into a video (again using a magical script by John Johnston). I rarely am at 100% for a year- it happened once. But this year, as always, I find I am way short due to mis-labeling, forgetting to add to the album. So there’s a task of combing through the album as well as the tagged photos, filling gaps in the camera roll view, fixing misnamed/numbered photos, and just sighing about the dates I missed photos.

To be honest, with 64k+ public domain licensed photos lying around in my own flickr, when looking for images to use for my own posts or projects, I tend to look there first. If I search in Google Images, I often see my own photos showing up in those questionable odorous sites like pxherem piklist, et al that scavenge my photos. Even if I find images from this sources not my own, I always try to go upstream to find the sources usually in Pixabay or Unsplash.

I knew I have photos that have gotten a fair bit of reuse that represent the idea of open, e.g.

Open is Welcoming
Open is Welcoming flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0) This one, with 4880+ views and used for several conference/project sites, was found in Hobart, Tasmania.
Open Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry
Open Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0). This one, with 13,800+ views, has been spotted in a few blog posts. I spotted this one somewhere in Vancouver, B.C.

I knew I had a few in this theme, and had half a thought of putting them into a collection. Voila! the Open/Closed Album, with a notch over 200 photos.

Screenshot of the flickr album with a grid of photos of signs saying "open", "closed" padlocks, missing roofs, etc.
Open/Closed Flickr album

Putting aside the ongoing rallying cries about “Open not being the same as free“, I decided to make a second set of ones in an album “Free As In…”

A second flickr album with image icons of signs like "free wood"' "All VHS Free", "Free books"
Free as in flickr album

While Open may not equate with Free, all photos are licensed Creative Commons CC0- which means anyone can use them for any purpose, like make a million bucks off of any of them, and they do not even have to let me know. Isn’t that how many people describe public domain?

One of the most rewarding aspects for me is, that despite the “use without attribution required” phrase most people apply to public domain, many individuals do let me know. Especially independent musicians.

Is this uncommon? I have yet another album where I collect these examples of my photos reused. I do not build this with an algorithm or some kind of meta data api doo-hickey, this all is done manually from emails, tweets, flickr comments that come my way.

Flickr album of my reused, attributed/thanked for photos.

This all likely sound like bragging, and maybe it is a wee bit (hey if I brag it’s for 30 photos that have been in flickr explore). Taking and sharing photos has been the consistent reward/activity over my time here.

And amongst the vast corridors places of flickr, if I have unvisited oddities of a 15 year old group for photos that look like they were Photoshopped but were not (looks like most activity was by people just dumping photos there to get points) and maybe my favorite, a group I made that no one other than me ever joined, is Hideous Hotel Carpet.

I come for the photo organizing and stay for the weird stuff. Do you get that when you cast off flickr, break any old links, to stuff your photos into Google because of the price?

I do this level of organizing photos, writing detailed titles/captions, tagging, so I can better find my own photos myself. Now I have my own pool to draw from. It’s one of those things that when you make something for your own use, but share it openly, it can benefit others, mostly people you will never know. Why does this matter?

I think just looking at 2020 to take in the open sweeping differences of selfishness vs selflessness answers the question.

Featured Image: Cropped version of a photo that landed in both albums.

The Sign Trifecta
The Sign Trifecta flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. Well, it is always a good time to see all the pictures that come out of your camera in one year. I think I need to dig into my box and find my old Brownie camera so that I can take some pictures again like in the old days. But still I never made a video of the whole year of them like you do, so that is another project for another time after I do a whole year of them again. It is always a nice time to see pictures of you and C. and Felix. Plus, you have a lot of pictures now in them with snow, because Canada prairie.

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