Cyanotypes, artists, powwows and Marie Curie

We are proud to welcome the Smithsonian Institution as the fourth member to join The Commons on Flickr. To begin their journey into Flickrverse, they share with us some glorious history including photographs from Smithsonian’s First Photographer, Thomas Smilie:

Installation View of Smithsonian Photography Exhibition

Portraits of Artists, like John Singer Sargent in his Paris studio in 1885…

John Singer Sargent

Portraits of Scientists and Inventors, Einstein notwithstanding…

Portrait of Albert Einstein and Others (1879-1955), Physicist

…and “People and the Post“, and a pup named Owney…

Snorkel Chute Curbside Mailbox  Owney

…to the first contemporary collections to enter The Commons, the American Celebrations and documentary from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival; a wide range of contemporary photos of various celebrations throughout the country:

2002 Powwow

By the way, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of meeting staff at several museums, archives and libraries in London over the last week. A highlight was being shown some wonderful portraits of circus performers from the early twentieth century in the bowels of the British Library. I flipped over one of them to reveal the red “leather” background, embossed with gold lettering that read “Edward Sharp,” and this lovely phrase, “copies can be made.” I find that phrase utterly charming. What a positive way to suggest that things can be shared. (Plus, our current “no known copyright restrictions” is a little dry, however useful, so it might be nice to look to change it.)

The Commons is continuing to grow. The Powerhouse Museum reported that their copies of The Tyrrell Collection on Flickr received more views in their first month here, than in the whole of 2007! We’re also ironing out the final kinks to add search to The Commons too. It’s already fun to play around behind the scenes making new collections and different connections between the various photographs in The Commons, made possible by the tags and conversations about what you’ve discovered so far.