Fuck off Flickr?

I've been on Flickr- the yahoo owned photo sharing website for a few years now but lately my index finger has gotten itchy to press the self destruct button on my account. I first joined up because I was bored at work and it looked like it could be a great way to waste the 3 hours I had left before I went home for the day. As I started to upload more I got a lot of great feedback and the opportunities started flying in. I would ravenously search through people's photo streams being inspired and awed by how many incredible photographers I found. I joined groups where you can discuss photos ( nerd heaven!) and spent a whole lot of time immersed in the site.
But then Flickr changed.
Photographic fashions became more prevalent ( which is of course understandable given the grouping of so many people working in the same medium), Getty images jumped on board and group discussions went from being cuddly photo love fest to snide remarks about the quality of photographers not deemed cool enough for the clique.  Top photographers started deleting their accounts in droves, sick of the having their works ripped off on the internet. Strange animated gifs would appear in comment sections with people writing some bizzare compliment on your work " nice catch" and asking  for you to " check out their stream". Everyone has an ego that likes to be fed but I'm not sure being big on flickr really translates to anything anymore. There have been a few huge success stories with people having photos found on flickr and careers shooting off but with the sheer number of people on the site now I don't know if that could be possible. The lovely and incredible Alec Sloth has embraced Flickr and started a group as a way to teach and inspire, Jamie Stoker and Nirrimi were both discovered via Flickr and have rightfully started fantastic careers with the help of their notoriety. I started to get fucked off with Flickr when Getty images contacted me to try and license the photos I had taken of my Dad in hospital. I know my photos are on the internet for public consumption and have no control over what people think about them, but you would think Getty would at least recognize that it's a very personal work and probably not the type of thing a photographer would want for stock photography. Not  to mention that the usage rates they offer are quite frankly, crap. Following that, my Flickr page now comes up with ads for household cleaners, is trying to suggest freinds to me constantly and it all seems very 1984. My facebook page is locked down- I have no photos beyond party snaps on it because I don't want ol Zuckerberg to own my stuff. But now Flickr seems to be going the same way.
To anyone who reads this blog ( hi mum!) and who has come here from Flickr tell me what you think- is Flickr still the best way to show your work to a huge audience? Or is it time to jump ship?


  1. I totally agree! Flickr is doing my head in, it takes so long to wade through all the photos in search for a little inspiration. And the adds, ahhh so annoying. I haven't been on it that long but i must say it is not all that i had hoped it would be. I put my pics on my blog and then add then to pinterest account, i only take pics for fun. It is add free (for now)!

    p.s i love your dad photos, makes me wish i had taken more of my dad

  2. Umm, yeah. I'll bite.

    I take pictures for fun and my own edification. I never had a reason to care for getty image syndication, nor have I ever enabled it. I guess things remain more or less the same to me. There are things I like and dislike about flickr, but there's no sufficiently strong reason to switch to anything else. Plus these things are really sticky -- you can't also take those people too -- those you've come to know, admire and sometimes befriend -- with you when you move.

    (Been a long time admirer of your work and a long time reader of your blog. Hi Morganna!)

  3. Ha! who knew anyone was reading this!!! Hi!!!!
    Good point Sajith about the network of people on Flickr- that is the only thing that has stopped me deleting my account. But i have taken a lot of photos down because the audience for Flickr is unfiltered ( my stripper shots have like 30 billion views each) and so you are not necessarily getting people who are even interested in photography seeing your work. Which can be a blessing but I have to say when the aforementioned stripper shots starting showing up on porn sites I was pretty pissed off. And as Amberlee points out , you have to wade through so much crap on it now to find something inspiring. So I guess I wonder if the benefits of meeting great people and being inspired outweigh the crap.

  4. There is still good stuff on Flickr. I'm not nearly as passionate about it as I used to be, but it still has great value.

    There are some great communities and if you're in one of those, it's wonderful. We were having a similar discussion recently in one of the main groups I'm in - several of us who have been around on Flickr for a number of years now have largely stopped caring about whether other people find out work or about seeing the masses of work. Instead, all we care about are the updates and feedback from a smaller circle of people - friends or other Flickr acquaintances. That's still a valuable thing which relies on maintaining the networks one has already built on Flickr over a number of years.

    Flickr is a good way of exposing your work to more people, if that's what you want. I found your stuff on Flickr probably five years ago and I'm still following it there and on this blog even after all this time. Even a minimalist approach of simply maintaining your existing relationships on Flickr, rather than seeking out any new ones, would still be valuable.

    Also, I wouldn't let the Getty thing get you down. They're just a big corporation and they probably don't even take the time to look at the context or details of every photo they request to license. Just reject their offers and ignore them. Also, they're not really pitching at professionals like you- they're probably largely targeting talented amateurs who wouldn't otherwise have avenues to sell/license their photos.

  5. I agree with Mister Tim. I also wanted to make an obligatory reference to Sturgeon's Law, which is to say: flickr or the uncurated Internet in general hardly is a place to find inspiration. It's also infested with crass amateurs such as me. :-)

  6. It's a funny one Mr Tim, I do see the benefit of Flickr for networking with new ( or old) acquaintances but I wonder if we need to have our photos on it to do so? I know I can send an image out to any number of people who will give me feedback straight away and filter through the ridiculous flickr speak.
    Your 100% right in saying Getty is targeting amateurs and I actually think that's what I dislike so much about the whole thing . Someone who is starting out might think it's great to sell there photos to Getty for a small fee and big prestige. But it's not, Getty as a stock photography agency is just a depressing sea of bland images ( I know this from working at the paper) who cant control how many uses each client gets out of the image they lease.
    I do think it's interesting that everyone is saying their interest in Flickr is waning, at least I know I'm not alone.
    And Sajith- an uncurated space is the best place to find inspiration, crass amateurs and all!

  7. In this context, yes - we do need to have our photos on Flickr to network/connect in this way. In this internet 'community' who you are in real life doesn't really matter. The initial connection - finding people and deciding to network with them- is all about the photos. You really only choose to liaise with someone if their photos 'speak' to you or in some other way inspire you. There are some exceptions - the Canberra Photographers group that I'm in has a strong community, both online and in meet ups in real life, and we've made friends whose photos don't do anything for me, but I think that's the exception, not the rule.

    Of course, it gets back to a question of motivation too: do you actually want to share your photos with a wider audience? Do you want to get more fans, random people like me? If so, Flickr has value. If not, then you are quite right to point out that it gives you no benefit that you can't achieve through other avenues.

  8. Mr Tim you are not a random fan! I appreciate that you take the time to look at my work and have done so since my first ever upload to flickr 4 years ago and that you make an effort to interact.
    I think what it is is that we all love sharing our work with as large an audience as possible but we imagine that will be at least interested in photography. I think the way flickr is going, it's not about photography anymore. That being said, after I wrote my last reply I was ready to delete my account but then looked at my thousands of images stored as favourites and realised if I delete it I will loose that bank of inspiration. So my flickr will stay for the time being albeit with no activity.
    If you can duck into Sydney over the weekend go see the show that is n at the Depot II Gallery in Waterloo- looks amazing

  9. Do you mean 'No Direction Home'? (I had to google it - I didn't know that off the top of my head). Unfortunately I'm not going to get to Sydney until after it's finished. With a 3 month old and a 2 year old, ducking interstate for a weekend is much harder than it used to be (we used to be able to just randomly decide on a Friday to go to Melbourne for the weekend, but haven't managed that for a long time).

    I also really want to get down to Bendigo to see this, but don't think it will happen either: http://www.bendigoartgallery.com.au/Page/Page.asp?Page_Id=268&h=0

    Anyway, I'm glad you're going to keep your Flickr account. I hope you'll still upload the occasional top image there as well. It still is the best platform for sharing and interacting about photos of all the multitude of photo and social media websites out there.



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