Interlocking rock pillars formed from cooling lava millions of years ago in captivating locations worldwide, most notably Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, Iceland’s Svartifoss, and Scotland’s Fingal’s Cave.
It amazes us every week anew to see all your creativity. For our theme You and Me, you shot sweet couples on the street, took romantic and funny selfies with our beloved ones and your dearest of friends, or simply interpreted the theme in broader way. Join us and discover all the wonderful submissions in the Flickr Friday group pool.
It’s also time to start shooting for our current theme #PenAndPaper (and of course, if you’re passionate about drawing, sketching, moleskining, notebooking, and scribbling, we want to see what you can come up within less than a week of time!). We will showcase your next FlickrFriday contributions later this week.
Most artists spend a lifetime trying to find both success and passion with their art. Tracy Lee Stum, known on Flickr as Tracy Stum, has definitely found both of them in her career. She makes a living by traveling the world to create interactive 3D street art — beautiful chalk masterpieces on sidewalks and other public walkways.
“I love what I do because I get to take a piece of pavement and transform it into this amazing, imaginary world,” Tracy says in the accompanying video. “And the great thing about it is people can actually step into and be a part of it!”
Tracy says she was born an artist who loved drawing and painting as a child. She studied art in school and became a successful mural painter. Her discovery of street art, however, was a total accident. In 1998, she happened upon a street-painting festival in Santa Barbara, CA, and was immediately drawn to it.
“I went over there and thought, ‘Oh my god! Here are hundreds of people, down on the pavement making these amazing masterpieces with chalk pastel.’ It was incredible,” Stacy says. “I mean this was museum-quality work! I thought to myself, ‘I have to do this.’ This is my tribe. This is my people. I want to join up!”
When Tracy first started, it wasn’t easy. Being a successful muralist she applied the same technique to the pavement, but quickly realized the environment was much different. Right away she became aware there was a certain way to sketch a drawing, even a certain way to apply the chalk to the surface — it was all very new. But along the way, she found the street-art community to be very helpful, and they guided her through the process.
One interesting fact about 3D street painting is that it’s meant to be viewed from one spot. All these pieces are designed to be viewed in person or through a fixed camera from the same vantage point. Artists like Tracy have to be mindful of this placement and draw to scale from that specific viewpoint.
“It’s very interesting actually to see the drawing from the backside or the side,” Tracy says, “because it looks like an abstract image and you don’t know what it is. The minute you put your eye where that camera is supposed to be, you definitely have that ‘wow’ moment and understand what it’s all about.”
After a few years, Tracy’s art opened many opportunities, and she soon began a full-time career as a street artist. One of her favorite pieces was a rendition of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Sony commissioned Tracy to draw the piece at a DVD launch party of “The Da Vinci Code” in New York. Not only was it her most high-profile event, but she also earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“It was a very beautiful experience for me,” Tracy says. “You know, three weeks into chalking, I worked on the tablecloth alone, and I was ready to kill myself! But in the end, everyone enjoyed it, and I walked away with the Guinness Book of World Record for the largest chalk painting by an individual. It was so surreal.”
Despite the occupational hardships — such as working in 100 degrees heat, adjusting to different time zones, and arching/posturing for different drawing positions — Tracy loves her job. Her favorite part is interacting with the public.
“I’m a natural showman,” Tracy says. “I get out there, and I love it. You get to educate people about the art form. They get so excited because you surprise them with something they never could have imagined, and it adds a little extra life to their day… and mine!”
Looking back, Tracy admits she’s had an amazing journey so far. She’s been working for over 15 years and produces anywhere from 30 to 50 paintings a year.
“I could have never imagined having this ever in my life,” Tracy says. “If someone had come to me years ago and said ‘You’re going to be drawing on the ground, traveling around the world, inspiring people,’ I would have just looked at them and said, ‘What planet are you from?’ I’m just really excited about where it’s all going.”
Do 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.
We’re welcoming three new institutions to The Commons today, from all corners of the globe*!
State Records Authority of New South Wales:
State Records is the NSW Government’s archives and records management authority. We manage the NSW State archives collection and set the rules and provide guidance on the management of official records. State Records holds many tens of thousands of archival photos from the late 19th Century to the present, capturing life in New South Wales in much of its richness and diversity.
The Law Society of Upper Canada Archives:
The Law Society of Upper Canada Archives collects and preserves records and other material documenting the history of the legal profession in Ontario. The Archives serves as the repository for records of permanent value to the Law Society of Upper Canada, the regulatory body for lawyers and paralegals in the province of Ontario. The Archives also acquires papers, collections, and other material relating to members of the legal profession and legal organizations.
Nova Scotia Archives:
The Nova Scotia Archives acquires, preserves, and makes available the province’s documentary heritage – recorded information of provincial significance created or accumulated by government and the private sector over the last 300 years.
The photogenic and abundant sea critters called Blennies often appear in underwater photography, and here are a few macro portraits of the tiny fish. Encompassing nearly 1,000 species with a variety of appearances, they situate in coral reefs, discarded beverage bottles, and other hideouts along seabeds.
Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, was named after Sir George Everest, who was the surveyor-general of India and the first to produce detailed maps of the Indian subcontinent including the Himalayas. Exactly sixty years ago, in 1953, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary were the first to reach the summit of the "Holy Mother", as the Tibetans call the eight-thousander.
After an exhausting climb up the southern face, Norgay and Hillary reached the Everest’s top at 11:30 local time. It is reported that they stayed for only 15 minutes because they were low on oxygen, but used the time to take several photos and give a Buddhist offering to the gods, before beginning their slow descent to join their team leader Colonel John Hunt further down the mountain.
The photo on the left shows Sir Tensing and Sherpa Norgay in 1971 in Wellington, New Zealand.
If you always dreamed of conquering Mount Everest yourself or have already done so, join the Mount Everest group and share your photos and experiences with the Flickrverse.
Thousands gathered in New York City’s Times Square on May 22 to watch the unveiling of the world’s largest LEGO model, a 1:1 replica of the LEGO Star Wars X-wing Starfighter that took 32 model builders, 5.3 million LEGO bricks, and over 17,000 hours to complete. – Yahoo! News
Last Flickr Friday was a theme of patience. Long Exposures, usually require a lot of it, while you set up your camera, compose the scene in the viewfinder and take your shot with very long shutter speeds.
Many of you made sure to take advantage of the hours between dusk and dawn to paint with light or freeze the landscapes, others created ghostly scenes with blurred silhouettes and movements. And then there were those who took a more humorous approach to the theme. Enjoy all the contributions in the Flickr Friday group pool, and start shooting for our current theme #YouAndMe.
On Memorial Day, we honor the brave men and women in our nation’s military for their dedication, courage and sacrifice. We also acknowledge the fortitude of their families as they wait for the safe return of their loved ones.
Lance Cpl. Stephen Stewart, known on Flickr as STStewart1, is a combat correspondent for the U.S. Marine Corps and recognizes their commitment often. One of the most powerful moments he captures are military homecomings.
“Words can’t even describe the emotion that’s in the air,” Stephen says in the accompanying video. “People are crying; they’re hugging; they’re laughing because you’re seeing someone for the first time in however long. It’s incredible.”
Deployments generally last between four months and a year.
“The Marines that I talk to like going on deployment,” Stephen says. “They do it first and foremost to protect and defend their country. But part of the reason they join is the amount of knowledge and experience they gain while deployed. It just makes them a better Marine.”
Naturally while they’re away, many Marines are acutely aware they’re missing important events back at home making the separation even more difficult.
“I know a lance corporal that deployed with the first Marine division out of Camp Pendleton to Afghanistan,” Stephen says. “He had just been married and during the deployment he got the phone call saying he was going to be a dad. Luckily he was back by the time his daughter was born, but getting that phone call must have been hard. It just makes getting back home even more important.”
The homecoming ceremony itself is brief, but the wait for families can be very long. Families are given an approximate time for when their loved ones will return, but Stephen says that time will jump about four hours in either direction.
“It can be very frustrating for those waiting,” says Stephen. “I’ve been to returns at four o’clock in the morning that were supposed to happen a ten o’clock the night before. But the families are up all night, you can see it in their eyes that they’re not going to sleep until they see their loved ones.”
The excitement begins when the Marines arrive on site and line up into formation. This can be the most excruciating part for families as the Marines are lined up fairly close to them – nearly 50 yards away – but can’t run to them. The Marines cannot break formation until they’re officially dismissed, leaving their loved ones to point and wave, take pictures and wait. When the final sign to break formation is given, Stephen says the air is explosive.
“Once the commanding officer says, ‘Marines, fall out’,” Stephen says. “Sweet, emotional chaos breaks loose. The two groups collide and embrace each other for the first time. It’s huge and exciting. Everything from crying to screaming to laughing, hugging and kissing happens all at once.”
The moment that resonates with Stephen the most is the emotional homecoming of Staff Sergeant Folk, a crewmaster with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252, who spent nine months in Afghanistan.
“Sgt. Folk saw his two kids and just dropped to his knees immediately, right when they reached him,” Stephen recalls. “He grabbed them and embraced them… you could just tell it was very emotional, especially for those kids.”
Stephen says in every single picture, it’s very easy to understand the sacrifice military families make everyday. While the separation is hard on those serving abroad, the fear of the unknown is just as difficult for loved ones back home.
“The sacrifice we make as military members is huge, but the sacrifice our families make to support our decision to join the military is much greater,” Stephen says. “We are the ones to choose to volunteer and go overseas, they did not. Our families are forced to live with our decision and in the process give us unconditional love and support — it’s huge.”
Stephen loves his job because he takes photos and writes stories so families know what their loved ones are doing. But with homecomings, specifically, he feels it reminds us all why military members do what they do.
“We serve for our country but at the very core we do it for our families too,” Stephen says, “After a long deployment and seeing the joy on their faces… it’s a beautiful moment that means so much.”
Do 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.
A massive tornado ripped through the Oklahoma City area on Monday, leaving behind a 20-mile path of death and destruction. Volunteers and aid organizations have come together to help victims of this harrowing disaster, but the effort in providing relief and support for affected communities has only taken the first step in recovering.
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