Why I love Flickr even more
<Forward: Some of you will need to forgive me, as I realize that if you enjoy photography and you already use Flickr, then this poast is very much a 'duh!' for you (there's a typo I've left in the last sentence, I think its cute, especially since the 'o' and the 'a' are on opposite sides of the keyboard...)..>
I recently bought a second-hand Nikon D70 and am having some great fun with it. It's the first 'proper' camera I've owned, and although I've always enjoyed taking pics, I've never been bothered to study the mechanics of photography, let alone had a camera that allows me to tinker around with the configurations so I can completely ruin a perfectly decent shot. The more I'm playing with it, the more I realize how much there is to learn.
One thing I've realized on this little journey so far, is how seriously cool Flickr is. I've used the service since 2004 and I've enjoyed the sharing of photos with friends, the ability to subscribe to friends' and contacts' pics and its utility as a photo storage service for my blogging. I've written and talked about how Flickr's 'openess' through its APIs use of RSS and tagging is a great example of Web 2.0nessness and all that, but I've just come to realized that I've missed more than half the point behind the success of Flickr.
I never really got the 'Groups' thing until this week. Sad, but true. And I'm loving it. There is a new depth to Flickr I'm discovering that seems simply amazing to me.
Here I am, now 'getting into' photography, trying to learn and experiment with the medium, and so I turn to the web. But the web seems like an awfully big place to try and find likeminded people - likeminded as in: I like photography and / or am getting into it and want to revel in it. I want to see lots of pics and lots of 'good' ones. And right under my nose is Flickr, where there are thousands - no, hundreds of thousands of people all playing around with their cameras, converging in clusters of passionate photographers arounds themes, things and topics of interest (including, of course, photography).
I'd like to be 'good' at photography. By that I mean I want to be able to create and develop images that are interesting for me and others to looks at, both from an informational perspective but also an aesthetic one too. I want to learn about how to get the best of out my camera. And how do you get 'good' at anything? To practice. But my problem has been what to practice? There are an infinite number of things I could practice, to the point of not knowing where to start. You know, meandering. And how can I practice with people and not feel I'm on this learning journey alone?
This is where the Flick groups come in. There are these groups, thousands of them (some of them are silly) but most that have 'themes'. Some of these theme groups do nothing but the same theme, always. Example is the 'split screen' group. You can only submit photos that contains a split screen - and horizontally only, preferably 50/50 split if you please (thanks to Tommy for finding this one for me). Other groups change their theme weekly or monthly. The theme for this week for the 'Weekly Theme' group is 'numbers' (it has over 2,000 members and some 11,000 pics). I love this idea, it gives me something to focus on, to experiment and hone in but with some purpose - a virtual photopgraphy assignment. Perfect.
Is there a point to this post? Maybe this: that sometimes the coolest stuff is right under your nose, you just need to see it.