On flickr

June 16, 2012
Thomas Hawk, once an avid flickr enthusiast, said that flickr is dead. What he meant is that flickr lost its significance as a social photography platform. Thankfully, that doesn't make flickr dead for me. What is that social photography anyway?

My approach to photography has evolved since the time I joined flickr, as has the approach of my contacts. While at the beginning I was actively seeking social interaction - comments, favs, people adding me as a contact, I've now found my place in a small community, and frankly don't care how many new people come and browse through my memories. It is good enough that flickr allows me and my family to view them in a neat way. So maybe that's what actually happened to more users - after all, flickr has been around for a while, and it's normal that the community has become a bit more mature, and the current network can be characterized by stable clusters rather than by a rapid growth.

Two observations:
  1. Growing popularity of analog photography in my contact circle. Since film photos typically cannot be shared real-time, this looks like an antithesis of social photography according to the wikipedia definition. Yep, I too got hooked. Better colors, higher acceptable exposure range, aesthetic grain, archiving options, the moment of surprise, I don't need to continue.
  2. I feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of photos I saw, thanks to social media and online sharing. I have such a hard time to feel that I'm doing something original, that I don't even attempt it anymore. It seems that everything worth being photographed has been shot from all possible angles. And shooting a cup of coffee, the mirror reflection of myself, or a random flower just to spit out the daily dose of pictures is imho quite boring.
    Instead of the frequent attempts to be original, I now aim for personal significance. This results in fewer photos taken on average through a given period of time, and my photostream now resembling an old-school family album, mapping vacations and children's milestones. So again, I've drifted away from social photography.

To conclude, flickr still works great for me and my needs. And it has an awesome community of talented photographers who don't superficially overshare. Because you know - flickr is dead, and there are google+, facebook, and instagram for that purpose.