Stories of the faceless woman

"The question of why I don’t show faces in my photos comes up a lot," says photographer Patty Maher, known on Flickr as Patty.

"It’s not something I set out to do," she says in today’s Weekly Flickr episode, "but the mystery and anonymity allows me to tell stories that are more universal. A faceless woman can be anyone, and that’s exciting."

Patty is a self-taught photographer and began taking photos only three years ago. Most of her work is self-portraiture within the countryside settings of her Ontario neighborhood. Patty’s main inspiration are stories that can be told through her photography.

"I love to consider a particular setting and then think of what story could take place there," she explains. "I tend to draw on a number of sources for inspiration: fairy tales, different periods in history, poetry, works of art, etc."

Follow the light The hills

In the beginning, Patty started out taking photos of herself. "I used to feel that I had to show my face because they’re self-portraits," she says. "So I spent a lot of time trying to take very attractive pictures of myself."

However, Patty quickly realized that she began focusing more on what she looked like, rather than the story she was trying to convey; it became distracting. To change this, she took herself out of the picture entirely.

Inside Out When the shoes don't fit

"I thought about using myself more as a prop and say what I wanted with with photo, rather than having the photo about me," Patty says. "So once I started getting my head around that, it opened up a whole new world for me."

Patty began using models in her photos — dressing them up in wigs and period costumes. Over time, her photography became centered around the stories she was trying to portray.

She waits for her dreams to return When dreams escape

One of Patty’s favorite photos is She Carried Her Dreams. She was trying to get the idea across of someone carrying their own dreams in their suitcase — all the while escaping and waiting for more dreams to come.

"I really feel that that happens in life," Patty explains, "We have certain dreams that we’re hoping for, and those dreams might not pan out; but if you’re open, other dreams can happen. That’s really very much what photography has been for me, a dream arriving a bit later in life, and I’m totally thrilled to be following that dream."

Looking back at you The Facing

One of the most important aspects about Patty’s photography is allowing the viewer to create their own personal experience.

"The fact that I don’t show faces allows people to potentially write themselves into the story that I’m trying to tell," Patty says. "Any picture I take, it could be any woman. It could be the viewer, it could be someone they know — their mother, their sister, their aunt — whatever they want it to be. And that’s really a goal of mine, to be able to move people in some kind of way. When someone says my photo has made them feel something, it’s the highest compliment I could ever receive."

Visit Patty’s photostream to see more of her photography.

WeeklyFlickr LogoDo you want to be featured on The Weekly Flickr? We are looking for your photos that amaze, excite, delight and inspire. Share them with us in the The Weekly Flickr Group, or tweet us at @TheWeeklyFlickr.

Posted by Ameya Pendse

#FlickrFriday: Up Close

175/365 - Living Things

Summer Into the Green

173/365 – Pimms O'clock

Leaf UpClose : kisses on his forehead

Bryant Park Film Festival - Invasion of the Body Snatchers

#UpClose Hebe

# Our last Flickr Friday theme was #UpClose.

Part of the challenge was getting familiar with your subject, zooming in, taking the macro approach, or simply taking one or two steps more towards your subject than usual. We saw photos of cute pets sneaking up to treats and curiously sniffing around. You also showed us fascinating portrait crops, showcasing new angles on skin, shoulders, or faces. Finally, nature also played an important role this week: You showed us flowers and the life around them up close and personal, lettings us discover its beauty and colors. There’s all of the above and much more to explore in the wonderful up-close world of the Flickr Friday group pool.

Once you’re done exploring, pick up your camera and start shooting for the new fashionable Flickr Friday theme that we just announced in the group, #PolkaDots. Indulge in the patterns all around you and take a closer look at the fashion and fabrics that you encounter day by day – a polka dot might be hiding just one step away. A selection of your shots will be showcased right here on Flickr Blog next Friday.

Photos from Gunn Point, Ivana Vasilj, Matteo Dunchi, ctalibard, Denzil Jennings, virginiefort, Atomox, Muet d’hiver, and Janice! 2012.

#FlickrFriday is a weekly photography project that challenges your creativity. For a chance to be featured on FlickrBlog, follow @flickr on Twitter & like us on Facebook and look for the weekly theme announcement every Friday. Browse the Flickr Friday category for more.

Posted by Kay Kremerskothen

This week in The Commons

We’re happy to present another round of institutions that have joined The Commons this week! Browse through each of their photostreams to see photos they’ve gathered in their efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of Estonia, Sweden and the Swedish community in Finland.

The National Archives of Estonia:

Mehed laeva ehitamas / Men building a ship   Katamaraan rannikumeres / A catamaran in coastal sea

Guido ja Eveline Maydell oma Stony Acresi farmis Connecticutis. Kamina kohal Eveline käärilõige / Guido and Eveline Maydell in their farm Stony Acres in Connecticut   Teismeline Eveline kostümeerituna Schwarzbeckshofi mõisas (Läti) / Teenage Eveline in a historical costume in Schwarzbeckshof manor (Latvia)   Suvitajad rannas piknikut pidamas / Vacationers picnicking on the beach

The National Archives of Estonia is the centre of archival administration in Estonia. The main task of the National Archives is to ensure preservation and usability of society’s written memory, documented cultural heritage for today’s and future generations. On the other hand, the National Archives guarantees the protection of citizens basic rights and duties and the transparency of the democratic state through the holding and preservation of authentic documents.

The National Library of Sweden:

August Strindberg   August Strindberg   August Strindberg

August Strindberg with children   August Strindberg's funeral

The National Library of Sweden has been collecting virtually everything printed in Sweden or in Swedish since 1661. We also collect TV and radio programs, movies and videos distributed in Sweden, Swedish music and multimedia recordings. The National Library is a humanities research library that purchases scholarly publications in several languages.

The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland:

The Swedish Theater in Helsinki   Eira/Ullanlinna (Ulrikasborg), Helsinki

South Harbour, Helsinki   The steamship Arcturus, South Harbor, Helsinki   The Esplanade in Helsinki, 1906

The archives of the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland strive to preserve the central parts of the Swedish cultural heritage in Finland. Finland was a part of Sweden until 1809 and Swedish has been spoken around the coastal areas of Finland for hundreds of years. Swedish is today used in everyday life by about 6 % of the Finnish citizens. In the SLS archive you will find letters, manuscripts, photographs, folk music, dialects and more for anyone who takes an interest in the language, history and traditions of the Finland-Swedish minority.
Posted by Daniel Bogan

US Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage

DOMA is dead


Victory! The plaintiffs in the California Proposition 8 case exiting the Supreme Court today.

Married couple celebrates end of DOMA

Supreme Court Ruling

06262013 - SCOTUS DOMA 110

San Francisco couple plans to marry

The United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and rejected an appeal about Proposition 8 on Wednesday, in two significant wins for supporters of same-sex marriages. Neither ruling established a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage, but they invalidated one federal law that defined marriage as only a union between a man and a woman, and ended an appeal to reinstate a California referendum that barred same-sex marriages in that state.via Yahoo! News

The celebration photos are flowing in, and with them an overwhelming sense of joy and relief. Congratulations to everyone whose marriage is now recognized at the federal level, and to all those in California who once again have the opportunity to marry their partners. Today is a good day.

Special thanks to the following members for posting the above photos from around the country: vpickering, ptrphoto, number7cloud, KQED News, Senate Democrats, JoshuaMHoover.

Posted by Thea Lamkin

North Korea’s modern luxuries revealed

Last Friday we heard from Toronto student Benjamin Jakabek, known on Flickr as benyjakabek, who described his rare visit to North Korea and shared the photos he took of the country most will never lay eyes on.

This week he’s back to talk about a side of North Korea that took him by surprise. Before leaving for his trip, Benjamin anticipated a rigid, institutionalized system based on communist philosophy with limited access to the outside world. But after a week traveling throughout the country, Benjamin found pockets where the country seemed advanced beyond his expectations.

“Some of my favorite pictures were ones that showed modernization,” Benjamin says in the video below. “I never really thought that would actually be possible in North Korea.”

One of the things that shocked Benjamin was Pyongyang’s metro system. He was taken aback at how well decorated, clean and beautiful the stations were.

“It was very impressive and really over the top,” Benjamin recalls. “But the strange part was they had two stops that were really nice and then the rest of them they didn’t want to show you. When we went on the subway we saw six stops — two we stopped at, the other four we weren’t able to get off. It was really bizarre.”

Pyongyang Metro   Pyongyang Metro

Benjamin also noted that not everyone had access to the metro. “It was apparent that the average person can’t really go there. First of all, you’re lucky if you’re in Pyongyang and second of all, a lot of these luxuries are held back for the military elite.”

Benjamin was also surprised to encounter Pyongyang’s Fun Fair — a huge outdoor space with carnival rides cheap enough to make the fair one of the few places accessible to the general public.

Pyongyang Fun Fair   Pyongyang Fun Fair

“What’s funny was this wasn’t just a little carnival,” Benjamin explains. “They had very high tech rides like the drop zone and stuff like that. Something you would see at a Wonderland or a Six Flags. One of them was very high tech where you would lay down and it would do all sorts of flips and things on a track. You just would never expect to see that in North Korea.”

Night Time View from the Yanggakbo Hotel

Benjamin found these modern luxuries, such as bowling alleys, fascinating in country closed off from the rest of the world. “You kind of just show up there and it’s a strange combination of being like stuck in 1950s Stalinist Russia mixed with these little tokens from the West,” Benjamin says. “It’s so surreal.”

To see more of Benjamin’s photography, be sure to visit his photostream.

WeeklyFlickr LogoDo you want to be featured on The Weekly Flickr? We are looking for your photos that amaze, excite, delight and inspire. Share them with us in the The Weekly Flickr Group, or tweet us at @TheWeeklyFlickr.

Posted by Ameya Pendse

In transit

Also available in: Français

Other side of the world

::   In Transit (Beijing)


  the day's end

#10: "Photograph like an assassin; suddenly and silently" Street Photography Now Project

under glass   stansted airport transit #1


We spend countless hours (or months!) of our lives on trains, buses and planes, in terminals and tunnels and uncomfortable seats. Most of this time passes by in a blur — in transit, your main focus is pretending you’re somewhere else. But somehow a well-aimed camera can elevate one early-morning commute to something beautiful and universal.

Photos from . Jianwei ., Daan L, Dj Poe, Dylan-K, philcoffman, M. Aviña, sp_clarke, lomokev, and Philipp Klinger Photography.

Posted by Thea Lamkin

Supermoon views

Also available in: 繁體中文


Supermoon 6/23/2013

Moon and Bird Silhouette on Supermoon

A big circle and a bridge Touching the Moon


ember tree under a super-moon Supermoon

The 2013 Supermoon (NYC 6/23/2013)

Time to Rise

Moon light fishing.

Three Percent

Over the weekend, many skywatchers caught the moon in its biggest appearance of this year. Arriving at the closest distance from Earth on June 23, or what is also known as perigee, the “supermoon” created impressive views in the company of city skylines, landscape horizons, and famous landmarks.

See, and share, more spectacular scenes in the Supermoon 2013 gallery.

Photos from chengkiang, Jsdeitch, Photomatt28, Wilson Lam, Cthulhus Wolves, my soulSeveral seconds, prose729, RBudhu, claustral, cobby31, and robjdickinson.

Posted by Arnold Chao

Protests in Brazil

Manifestações Brasília


Manifestação Passe Livre - São Paulo

Vem Pra Rua - Manifesto no Acre



Over two weeks ago, Brazil’s “Free Fare Movement” demonstrators organized protests against an increase in public-transit fares in a few cities across the country. On June 13, the protests escalated at Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, where military police injured over 100 people. The nation’s politicians now face widespread upheavals that’s grown far beyond the initial discontent regarding transit, and crowds of more than 200,000 protesters have publicly displayed their grievances about police violence, government spending, and political corruption. To appease the rebelling masses and answer to the pervasive media coverage, President Dilma Rousseff announced plans to cut bus fares for a few cities. Nevertheless, Brazil’s civil unrest will most likely continue, especially from disagreements over spending for major sporting events, including 2014 World Cup soccer and 2016 Olympics investments.

Photos from rafaelhbarroso, Alexssandro Loyola Freitas, demiante, Alexandre Noronha, bfernandes, felmagalhães, and Nasci*.

Posted by Arnold Chao

Life inside North Korea: Between concrete and cherry blossoms

Thoughts of North Korea tend to conjure up images of organized military parades, nuclear missile tests and large crowds worshiping a supreme leader; today that’s Kim Jong Un. But there’s so much more to be known about this mysterious country, which has isolated itself from the Western world for decades.

It’s not every day the veil of secrecy surrounding the Northern part of the Korean peninsula is lifted. But in this episode of The Weekly Flickr, Benjamin Jakabek, known on Flickr as benyjakabek, shows a glimpse of what ordinary life looks like for North Korea’s 25 million citizens.

“I wanted to know what it’s really like,” Benjamin says of his long-standing curiosity of North Korea in the accompanying video. “And when I finally had the chance to go, I found out it wasn’t at all what I expected.”

Benjamin, a political science major at a Toronto university, researched North Korea for years, followed the latest news developments and finally wanted to experience it first hand.

“It’s one of the last places on Earth that’s untouched by modernization and information,” Benjamin says. “It’s incredible to think about. We live in a society where we have access to all sorts of information. But there, they block everything off and they generally don’t allow anyone in. All we know is what they want us to know. And that’s kind of one of the main drivers of why I went there, just curiosity.”

Kim Il-Sung Square Kim Il-Sung Square

After looking into various tour groups that organize trips into North Korea, Benjamin chose one that had the best relations with the DPRK, allowing greater access and fewer photography restrictions. North Korea has its own ministry of tourism known as the Korean International Tourism Company (KITC) that gives out permits to overseas tourist companies. These overseas companies gather tourists and send them to North Korea where the KITC takes over the tour.

Benjamin admits he was surprised he got a permit so easily. “It only took just a couple months,” he says. “I guess I kind of credit that to the fact I’m just Canadian, but also I’m a young person with no real political agenda. I just went there to see things, and I guess that’s their favorite kind of tourist.”

Street Scenes

Nampo Street Scenes

When he arrived in Pyongyang, Benjamin recalls becoming very anxious upon realizing he lost control over his surroundings.

“You are in a sense trapped,” Benjamin explains. “I went on a tour and you really have to stick to that tour, and there’s no breaking away from it. When they take you around, it’s very coordinated, scheduled, and they try to show you the best of North Korea. They really try to make it seem like a great place, so the whole time you’re trying to peek behind the curtain, while they’re putting on a show.

Waiting for the Bus

Street Scenes

Benjamin describes North Korea as very 1984-esque – extremely uniformed and contrived. He recalls waking up at 6 a.m. and hearing loudspeakers in the distance playing Communist chants and songs; oddly similar to the morning call to prayer in Muslim countries.

“It’s kind of eerie when everyone’s wearing the same thing,” Benjamin says. “Especially when you’re from the West, where everyone’s kind of competing to look different with different clothing.”

Street Scenes

A Bus Ride Home

Pyongyang is a city of 2 million people, and Benjamin was shocked to not see one single advertisement.

“It was strange because there’s no cultural reference,” Benjamin explains. “You go to another city, almost anywhere else in the world, and you kind of see recognizable brands, marketing – everything like that. You get a sense of familiarity and maybe a sense of home. But in North Korea, it’s just nothing. There’s no connection or cultural reference you can relate to or talk about.”

Instead, Benjamin saw propaganda – huge murals, posters and enormous bronze statues of their former leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim jong-Il.

Munsudae Grand Monument

Kim Il-Sung Apartment Towers

“It was difficult at times,” Benjamin admits. “Because the Korean mentality is kind of reserved, and so you wouldn’t see that many outgoing people. However, you would see little moments of happiness, especially with the kids. You can see them laughing and playing in the local playground – just like any place in the world.”

One of the best parts of Benjamin’s visit was attending May Day celebrations. It’s one of the few times during the year when the country allows tourists to walk around freely for three hours. Benjamin finally had an opportunity to interact with locals and see what life was really like.

May Day Park Celebrations!

May Day Picnics

“Honestly, I was really surprised at the Korean hospitality,” he says. “They literally waved at us to come sit down at their picnic, share a bit of the bulgogi beef they cooked on their little grill, grandma’s passing around drinks… it was just a moment you’d never think would happen in North Korea.”

When Benjamin finally left North Korea, he had a different view of the country than when he arrived.

Smiling Traffic Lady

“I was kind of surprised because you realize that they’re just like everyone else,” he says. “Also, just being surrounded by happy North Koreans struck me because I didn’t think it was possible. It’s amazing.”

May Day Park Celebrations!

Model Cooperative Farm Family

“The best way to describe North Korea is concrete and cherry blossoms,” Benjamin says. “You show up there and see these large, concrete, Stalinist architecture, stoic government buildings, and they’re contrasted against these beautiful cherry blossoms. And it kind of shows this contrast between the government and just how beautiful the people are.”

Visit Benjamin’s photostream for more of his photography.

WeeklyFlickr LogoDo you want to be featured on The Weekly Flickr? We are looking for your photos that amaze, excite, delight and inspire. Share them with us in the The Weekly Flickr Group, or tweet us at @TheWeeklyFlickr.

Posted by Ameya Pendse

#FlickrFriday: 97 Percent

Also available in: Français

14 - June - 2013 -- 97 Percent

97 Percent



Pizza anyone? Nom, nom,

FlickrFriday #21: 97 Percent Ripe...

# Our last Flickr Friday theme was #97Percent.

A lot of creativity went into this (admitted) head-scratcher of a theme. Some of you took a topical turn and highlighted the 97 percent of climate scientists who agree that manmade climate change is real. Some of you showed us all but three percent of something, or found dials and meters at the exact time they read 97 percent. There’s all of the above and more to explore among the wonderful submissions in the Flickr Friday group pool.

In case you haven’t spotted it yet, we’ve announced the new Flickr Friday theme #UpClose in the group. Might be time to get out those macro lenses or find a subject that would otherwise have gone overlooked. A selection of your shots will be showcased right here on the Flickr Blog late next week.

Photos from reway2007, GhostGums, Rémi. P., Ajdobbin, crossword_steve, and elPadawan.

#FlickrFriday is a weekly photography project that challenges your creativity. For a chance to be featured on FlickrBlog, follow @flickr on Twitter & like us on Facebook and look for the weekly theme announcement every Friday. Browse the Flickr Friday category for more.

Posted by Thea Lamkin