Photo sharing service Flickr turns ten today. This news has been a little overshadowed by the news that Facebook was ten last week, but I still love Flickr, even though it is now part of the Yahoo! empire.
This is the most popular photo I have ever uploaded to Flickr. It’s my Staffordshire Bull Terrier Matilda wearing a pair of boxing gloves in London. As I write this blog today, this photo has been viewed 12,980 times.
This photo of Matilda on the beach at Woolacombe in Devon is considered by Flickr to be the most interesting photo I have ever uploaded – with interestingness being different to just views because it includes a measure of how many people commented on the photo or made it a favourite photo of theirs.
However, this Rothko image from the Tate Modern art gallery in London comes in a close second…
My photos on Flickr do still get quite a few views. Today they have been viewed 10,693 times and in total my collection of 30,008 photos has been viewed 4,130,107 times. Yes, that’s over 4 million views on my photographs on Flickr!
So happy birthday Flickr and here’s to the next decade 🙂
If you take a look at my Flickr page right now, there are over 10,500 photographs. I’ve also got about 1,000 ready to be uploaded – I just haven’t had enough time to get them all tagged. Almost all my photos are uploaded and tagged with a description of the content and then licensed as Creative Commons – meaning they are free for anyone to use provided I get credited as the photographer.
I just had an email from the Museum of London telling me that they are setting up an exhibition that will be there for the next ten years and they are planning to use one of my photos – this one.
That’s just the latest use of my photos.They have featured in magazines in the USA, Japan, and across Europe. My Rothko photo has been used by many artists and art academics. My Ajanta photos from India have ended up in a very detailed academic book on the subject of cave carvings.
I am forever finding my own photos on blogs and in Wikipedia. I once noticed a photo in Wikipedia that looked familiar and found – after a bit of digging to find the credit – that it was my own.
I enjoy seeing my photos being used all over the world by people for all kinds of reasons and I’ve no problem with people using them for purposes that may even be profitable for them – so long as I get credited. I once found someone selling coasters and bags on eBay featuring pictures of dogs – one of the dogs was my own pet and these products were all using my photos! When I contacted the seller asking where they got the photos, I was told to sling my hook… when I showed them my Flickr account, they removed their products and slunk away tail between legs.
I’m just a snapper. I’m only capturing images using a camera-phone, but I might upgrade soon to a decent camera. There are many photographers populating these repositories of stock photos and doing it in a more professional way than I am – what does that mean for the future of the *paid* stock photo library?
I got into trouble with Youtube a couple of years ago because I uploaded clips of songs from a Jean-Michel Jarre concert. The funny thing was that JMJ’s record company was deleting the clips off Youtube as JMJ himself was writing on his website that he loves to see his music shared using online forums. That never killed my entire account though – just the clips that were disputed. And even then, I can still view the clips privately when logged into my own account, it’s just that they can’t be broadcast to the wider online community.
But this is different.
Without any contact, I’ve suddenly lost access to my Youtube account. And while that might sound trivial to some, my account has over 900 of my personal videos since 2006. I don’t keep copies of that stuff. It’s filed away there on Youtube. So what happens to all my digital content now? Have they deleted it or just blocked access to my account?
And there is a wider issue regarding the digital footprint of an individual. If those videos, and my blogs, and my photos on Flickr, and my tweet record on Twitter are all owned by those companies then what do I do if they withdraw the service without notice. That could mean all my personal photographs are suddenly lost. It would never happen if I had them stored in a shoe-box.
And what happens when I die? Is it possible to “inherit” a Flickr account so the thousands of pictures I have taken over many years are not lost… through some automated account clearance because it has not been logged into for a period of time.
Is anyone addressing these issues of digital ownership? And by the way, to the guys at Youtube… please get in touch. I’m not sure what button I have pushed to upset you, but how about letting me have my videos back thanks?
I always used to enjoy listening to the ‘Window on Westminster’ podcast. The veteran Westminster reporter Brian Shallcross would meet the movers and shakers in power and interview them, releasing an interesting podcast once a week. Then it stopped being updated.
I was wondering yesterday – what happened to it? Why has he stopped updating it?
I thought I would drop him an email to ask why, so I googled his name, only to find his obituary in the Daily Telegraph. I missed the news that he had died so it came as quite a shock. I went off looking for his email address and not only found his personal email, but I found his obituary too…
What happens to all the material we create online after we die? I have published thousands and thousands of photos… will they live on once I am gone?