It hardly takes much to compel me to blog something about Flickr.

Sure, lots of folks are just dumping photos to Google because it applies some data sniffing organizational features, or pouring them into Instagram for the quick like fixes (where they can never be found by search), even jumping now into the novel PixelFed space. But for me, I stay where my heart and maximal photo experience has been since 2004.

That soars even more with the news of the creation of the Flickr Foundation aimed at preserving public domain photos for 100(?) years and “stewarding this cultural treasure for future generations, and fostering a visual commons we can all enjoy.” It starts with the flickr commons, but goes father with big ideas like digital buoyancy and the data lifeboat (what are the odds Instagram provides anything like that?).

Already a Fine Machine

The water stretching machine of an eastern parachute manufacturer stretches shroud lines so as to make them more adaptable to the finished product, Manchester, Conn.  (LOC)
The water stretching machine of an eastern parachute manufacturer stretches shroud lines so as to make them more adaptable to the finished product, Manchester, Conn. (LOC) flickr photo by The Library of Congress shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons)

The current flickr commons is to me already a fabulous machine for not just images, but the stories behind them (unlike other places where you look a media it is worth it to read the comments).

But as I see so many blog post, slide decks reach for the wealth of photos open to reuse from Unsplash or Pexels to me I find a bit of sameness, I imagine they are all photos done by the same photographer.

The Commons has an element of such different style- and while most of course vintage looking, why not mix it up a bit? I find metaphors quite easily…

1975 St Catherines Ping Pong
1975 St Catherines Ping Pong flickr photo by Mennonite Church USA Archives shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons)

A Wee Flickr Commons Search Tool

Totally, for my own use, but can be anyone else’s, I have been making regular use of a browser tool that is almost as old as web dirt, a browser bookmarklet:

I can do that because of the way flickr’s searches can be accessed outside of it’s site.

Come Improv With Flickr

The list of things I love about flickr have high among them the availability of it’s API but more than that, a long term history of not breaking it, enabling people, even code dabblers like me to create tools like Five Card Flickr Stories, which while maybe a bit creaky still enabled me to create a quick story from random flickr photos dealt to me in sets of 5.

Flickr’s API allows as well perhaps the web thing I am most proud of, Pechaflickr. A feature I baked in in 2021 allows a set of random images be served pecha kucha style from the tags of flickr commons flickr photos, and using the “Heather” mode creates it as a puzzle to Guess The Tag:

Just in case the bird house collapses, just the challenge yourself- In honor of the Flickr Foundation, “What is Going on in these Flickr Commons Photos?”

For the peak behind what is happening, yes I have my own blog post that will stay here no matter what the Dark Lord of Twitdor does:

The Message Is…

Solar System Montage of Voyager Images
Solar System Montage of Voyager Images flickr photo by NASA on The Commons shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons)

It’s exciting times for the commons and Flickr Foundation is aiming for the big sky future.

I am eager to see all that happens, stay tuned to https://flickr.org.

Note: All images in this post were found in the Flickr Commons which should be obvious in the captions. This is part of my approach to public domain media- just because a license says you do not have to attribute, I will ABA Always Be Attributing because it makes the Commons that more visible. Oh, and I put to use another of my Flickr tools, the Flickr CC Attribution Helper, something I have used multiple times each day since 2009. It is made possible by the openness of the Flickr platform.


Featured Image: Found in the flickr commons by a search on “telescope”- and you cannot go wrong with credit given to Rene? Descartes.

archival image of a man is looking through a telescope, the parts of which are lettered for further identification and discussion.
An Early Telescope flickr photo by History of Medicine Division – NLM – NIH shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons)

[media description: archival image of a man is looking through a telescope, the parts of which are lettered for further identification and discussion.]

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com 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.

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