Back in 2004, the sort of rich online environment for social interaction that Flickr and other newcomers were inventing was so new that people started talking about “Web 2.0,” a term that started out sounding futuristic but soon became redundant, since its influence was everywhere. No Web 2.0 site was more important than Flickr; it debuted just six days after Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room, and at first, it wasn’t clear that Butterfield and Fake’s photo-sharing site wasn’t the bigger deal. Even its name, with the missing final vowel, provided inspiration to countless other startups.
If cooking anything more than a couple of rounds of toast daunts you, and there are people – who shall remain nameless – falling into that category, then Fish Tales, an Instagram based cooking… channel, featuring recipe videos no longer than fifteen seconds in duration, may just be what the significant other ordered.
How much fun would smartphone photo sharing app Instagram have been, had it have come along during the 1980s? With the monochrome monitors of the period though, I’d say it wouldn’t really have held up a candle to Polaroid cameras.
If someone were to ask me what the most photographed place on Earth is, I’d say it would be the restaurant table you’re sitting at. Funny, right?
For a more reasoned answer to the question however, check out Sightsmap, a website that collates data from geolocation-oriented photo sharing site Panoramio to produce a heat map of global photo hot spots.
Mobile phone cameras, used by wedding guests to capture a ceremony’s happy moments, that are promptly shared via the likes of Instagram and/or Facebook, are increasingly cramping the style of the occasion’s official photographers, to the point that some professionals are calling for “unplugged” weddings:
Prior to the ceremony, the officiant read this, “Welcome, friends and family! Good evening everyone. Please be seated. Dan and Jennifer invite you to be truly present at this special time. Please, turn off your cell phones and put down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks – I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology. If Dan can do it, then so can you.”
The next time you take a photo of what appears to be an ordinary insect, it may pay to look more closely at the image… it could be you’ve discovered a new insect species, as was the case for Malaysian photographer Hock Ping Guek, who recently posted photos of such a creature to photo-sharing service Flickr:
Shaun Winterton, a researcher with the California State Collection of Arthropods at the California Department of Food & Agriculture, first found evidence of the species when he randomly stumbled upon a set of photos posted by Hock Ping Guek, a Malaysian photographer. Winterton recognized the insect as a potentially new species, but needed to collect field specimen in order to formally describe it.
Stumbling upon an unknown species – by the way – is far from uncommon, as thousands of new insects are identified every year.
Eric Fischer has produced a series of maps showing where Flickr and Picasa photos are taken in major cities around the world. Colour distinguishes photographers modes of travel, whether they were on foot, bike, or in a vehicle, and darker lines indicate areas where higher numbers of pictures were taken.
The above map of Sydney shows photos being taken where you would most expect them, in the downtown and harbour areas, as well as the beaches to the north (Palm beach and surrounds) and the east of the city (Bondi, Bronte, Coogee, etc).
Because Flickr is so prominent, it’ll get most of the blame for the destruction of yet another venerable profession. But in fact the rot had set in long before the site launched in February 2004. The main culprit was the idiot-proof digital camera, which enabled almost anyone to take a decent photograph, or at any rate one that was accurately exposed, in focus and sharp – and to delete it and try again if it hadn’t turned out right.
This will especially suit people – such as myself – whose Flickr collections have been built up from different computers and locations over time, and who accordingly don’t have copies of these photos stored in one central location.