While we rush further ahead into an increasingly futuristic world, it’s worth remembering the incredible resource we have in the The Commons on Flickr. There you’ll find some of the world’s finest historical institutions, who continue to add photos that give us a glimpse into times long past. The photos above were taken between January 25th and February 1st, in years all the way back to 1877.
If you’re eager to do some digging of your own, try doing an advanced search for a particular date range in the past and limiting it to Commons results. This one took us straight back to this week in 1945.
Tilt-shift photography, often made with a specialized lens, lets you put an area in focus while blurring other areas and distorting the photo’s perspective. One awesome side effect is at play in the above photos — toy-sized basketball players gathering on a court; mini-people enjoying a sunny stretch of beach. We’re used to seeing such a short depth of field in the photographing of tiny things. When this effect is applied to subjects that are actually far away, they appear strangely miniaturized. Ta da!
Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard, better known as Queen Beatrix, celebrates her 75th birthday today. Here are some photos that have been taken of her by Flickr members during festivities like the annual Koninginnedag (Queen Day) and other festivities.
While the Neoclassic Arc de Triomphe undoubtedly receives plenty of attention from tourists visiting France, this modern version of it symbolizes national humanity, rather than military triumphs, has been a part of the Parisian skyline since 1989. Danish architect Johann Otto von Spreckelsen designed the 110-meter-tall structure that required four years of construction until completion. Although the cubic monument located in the western district called La Défense isn’t easy to capture well because of its gargantuan size and minimalistic color, the featured photographers did a fantastic job of framing images of its architectural detail and surroundings.
No matter which camp you’re in, there’s no denying that pets are experts at not-so-subtly lurking, crouching, peeking, and generally trying to go unnoticed. And what’s good for our hearts is often good for our cameras.
If you’d like to dive deeper into the rabbit hole that is adorable pet photos on Flickr, be sure to check out the Cats Cats Cats and Dogs! Dogs! Dogs! group pools.
Zoom into photos that capture only a couple millimeters of space, and a small world with big complexity enters our vision, where ice renders into intricate stars and wool threads become strands of spaghetti. With a dab of light and great use of photography techniques, miniature objects come to life in these pictures.
A few weeks ago, something special happened in and around Los Angeles. A group of about 50 Flickr members spent a week together doing what they enjoy the most: taking photos. None of them are professional photographers – they’re all just passionate about photos and they’re all connected through Flickr.
This wasn’t the first time they’d gotten together. Last summer, the group met up in the Midwest. But this time they came together in L.A., and we invited even more Flickr members to join and spend a day with them, walking through the amazing nature just east of the City of Angels.
The Flickr meetup took place on an early Sunday morning at a very unusual venue: a parking lot in the middle of the hills around Pasadena, California. Usually what you see from Flickr meetups in Los Angeles are photos of buildings, street art, people. This time, David Talley, who organized the meetup, took the group on a small trail to the Sturtevant Falls to capture amazing photos of trees, grass, and leaves.
Today is a day of celebration, of relaxation, of friends, family and festivities – and quite a few barbeques! It’s a day where we stop and reflect, enjoy a public holiday, and recognize achievements at the Australia Day awards.
So on this day, a big congratulations to all nominees, finalists and award winners and Happy Australia Day to all our members – whether you’re Australian or not!
We’d also like to "tip our hats" to Dorothea Mackeller for her beautiful poem My Country, verse 2:
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror,
The wide brown land for me.
What a perfect backdrop for Flickr photos, like the one from Lexyloves… above, near and far! If you are celebrating today and are taking photos of the festivities, don’t forget to tag them AustraliaDay2013.
National Geographic is world-renowned for some of the most spectacular photos ever taken and published. But when NatGeo veteran Jim Richardson heads off on assignment around the world or across America, the types of images he hopes to capture may surprise you.
“What I look for is very much the commonplace. I look for those things that are common between us, that we all experience,” Jim, who has taken five around-the-world trips, tells The Weekly Flickr. “It’s life and death and children and getting married and the first day you send your kid off to kindergarten, and all those kinds of things. Those are the things that really leap across the boundaries, and those are the pictures we all understand no matter which culture we come from.”
Jim has worked as a freelance photographer for NatGeo for the last 25 years; and since 1989, he has not worked anywhere else.
What makes a good photograph for him? He says the best photos are the ones that “go straight to your heart.”
“They are pure visual communications,” he says. “You see them. You understand. You get the message without ever having to process it.”
In the accompanying video, he recounts the story of how his father brought home an entire darkroom kit one day.
“I could take and set up a darkroom in our kitchen at night,” he says. “And the wonder of putting that first piece of paper into the developer and seeing the image come out, that’s always magic.”
From that point on, he started to take pictures of virtually everything, including his dog — chasing squirrels and lightning storms at night — and flowers in the woods.
Despite taking photos of everything as a boy, Jim never thought he’d end up as a professional photographer. He had actually pursued psychology in college at Kansas State University until he realized what he’d be doing day-to-day as a psychologist. “I didn’t want to do that,” he says.
He decided to get a position working as a photographer for his college school newspaper. He eventually landed a job at the Topeka Capital Journal where he has been working for 11 years. From there, he jumped to the Denver Post as a special projects photographer, but after five years of “wandering the West” he left for National Geographic.
NatGeo and returning to his roots
One of his first assignments at NatGeo was a story about the Colorado River. It was a story about resources, water, and economics.
“It wasn’t an adventure story, and it really clicked with me,” he explains.
Over the years, the stories and places Jim has been most passionate about and revisited multiple times seem to always bring him back to his roots.
“I have spent a lot of time in the Celtic world because my ancestors, as it turns out, all came from Celtic parts of the world,” he says. “I’ve sort of, over that time, made myself into the expert and the guy with the biggest collection of pictures from that part of the world.”
But perhaps the body of work Jim is most known for are his photographs taken in the little town of Cuba, Kansas, of not more than 200 people situated just 10 miles from his hometown.
“I’ve gone back there hundreds of times,” he says. “[It] was a great small town, rich in life, and as it turned out, very rich in pictures.”
Because of his time in Cuba, barber shops are of particular interest to Jim.
“I stop for all barbers, all over the world. I’ve done it ever since I started taking pictures back in rural Kansas,” he says. “It’s one of those places that is a universal necessity, ritual of everyday life, and you can depend that it will be interesting.”
Over the decades, especially during his time spent in Cuba, Jim learned that good stories are everywhere. “Those things that I learned there are the things that I use every day when I’m out shooting for National Geographic,” he says. “Almost anything can become a compelling story with sufficient research and understanding and devotion.”
The role of a photographer
Jim believes the role of a photographer is to “add to the beauty of the world.”
“It really comes down to if you are going to be a participant in beauty or a consumer. If you’re a participant, you find the things that are beautiful in a place. If you’re a consumer, you simply go and take and leave, and you don’t add anything,” he explains. “One of our jobs as photographers is to add to the beauty, by finding it and bringing [it] forth and putting it in front of people, and letting them share it and hopefully expanding the beauty of our world.”
This is what let him to return time and time again to places he had previously photographed.
“Early on, I started going back more and more in my photography, and what I learned from going back to the same situation over and over again is there was more there than I ever imagined,” he says. “My imagination wasn’t as rich and wonderful as reality, and if I really tuned myself to see the reality, there were just absolute wonders to be found.”
Jim now also frequently sails on adventure cruises aboard the “The National Geographic Explorer” ship to places like Antarctica, Norway, and the British Isles. His role ranges from lecturer to resident photography expert.
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