We’re all familiar with the above and below photos that used to greet us whenever we came to the signed-out Flickr homepage.
Today, we’re launching a new and revamped version (you’ll only see the change at flickr.com when you are signed out) with a whole new set of greeting images. We wanted to take a look at the awesome shots that were previously rotating on the home page with a special interview in this extended blog post.
We asked the members that took them: What was the the best thing that came from the exposure you got on the Flickr homepage? Many got back to us, and here are their thoughts and stories. We hope you enjoy both the interviews and your new signed-out homepage.
xdjio (a.k.a. Joshua Gardner), Vancouver, Canada
The best thing that came from my exposure on the main page was actually increased motivation to be more prolific in my photography. Astute readers may note that this is no longer the case – only because I have a young daughter and family who take precedence over my craft of film photography.
I was very flattered to have my photo chosen – and I am proud of the photo and I have received many nice comments. One things that has been a source of periodic interests to me is whether or not the photo generates any significant dialogue. In general it has not – most comments are short and sweet – “it’s a good photo” or some such thing. That dismays me a little bit – that the experience of art or creativity is too easily reduced to a glib statement that, while well-intentioned – might come across as hollow. If you hear that it is good from 600 people, how much more interesting is it to hear it the 601st time? I was actually most excited by a dialogue in the comments section over a year (maybe even two years ago) where someone thought the photos was empty, and a waste of time. That was exciting because I felt like people were thinking about what the photo means.
For the record, I don’t think the photos means anything special – I just enjoy the visual quality of seeing places that look abandoned. I started and still curate a group for this – “The Last Person on Earth” that includes photos that give me this feeling.
If anyone is especially interested, this photos I took in Vancouver, on the staircase outside BC Place Stadium. I used a Contax RTS II, I think I may have shot this on Tri-X film developed in Rodinal. I am always a little dissatisfied with how i blew the highlights out a little bit, but such is life. The lens was a Carl Zeiss Planar 50 T*.
notsogoodphotography (a.k.a. Ibrahim Iujaz), Republic of Maldives
The best thing about getting my picture on the homepage was the exposure around Flickr. Since Flickr is the largest photo sharing website it was a very good step for me as a photographer who’s just started, as I got a lot of messages from people from all around the world about my photos. It was a very nice feeling knowing there were a lot of people appreciating my work. And i got a lot of positive comments from my friends as they checked out flickr and found out my photo is on the home page. It was a great way to work harder to make the rest of my photos more and more interesting.
jam343 (a.k.a. Junichiro Aoyama), Kyoto, Japan
The best thing that happened to me is meeting people that I would have never had the chance to meet without Flickr. I’ve never thought I could meet people from all over the world on Flickr. I’ve done a group photo exhibition with some of my Flickr friends, and some other friends came to visit me and my hometown. These were amazing experiences for me. Also their photographs gave me lots of inspirations for my photos.
I am not good at communicating in English, but I really think communication is not all about knowing other languages, but also photography is a great means of communication. It’s like paintings and music. They speak for themselves.
One more thing: Some of my photos were used on the covers of a paperback, a CD cover artwork and on magazines. Those offers were really exciting for me.
It’s just endless how much great things I’ve experienced using Flickr. It might sounds too dramatic for you, but my photos wouldn’t be the same without Flickr. My life would not have been as fun and exciting as it is right now, and I am looking forward to seeing more beautiful photographs and more new people in the future!
I love photography.
I love flickr.
P.S. I live in Japan. You probably know about the major earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear accident on March 11 around North-East Japan. I got so many heartful Emails and messages from Flickr members. I felt truly grateful. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you.
And I thank Ms. Kennedy to always help me with my English.
aussiegall (a.k.a. Louise Docker), Sydney, Australia
When I found out that Flickr HQ was planning on using one of my photos on their sign on page I was totally blown away. I had only bought my camera 4 months before I took the Lift Off photo and was very new to photography. Having the photo on the sign on page has changed my life in so many ways. It has meant that thousands of people have dropped by my photostream and left me wonderful words of encouragement and advice over the years.
I now have many contacts world wide and have also become close friends with some of them that live locally. Flickr played a very large part in developing my photography skills and knowledge, I’ve been inspired and mentored by lots of photographers in the Flickr community and I’m very grateful for that (they know who they are).
In turn I hope that my photos have helped to inspire people as well. One of the comments that I get quite frequently about the Lift Off shot is that people are amazed that it was shot on a Sony DSC-H1 which cost me about $300, just goes to show that you don’t necessarily need to have a very expensive camera to get a good shot, just practice and patience. I think what helped me the most was joining a Project 365 group on Flickr and taking and posting a photo a day. This made me pick up my camera for an hour or so everyday which meant I got lots of practice over the year. Some days were easy, some days were hard but I am so glad that I did it as it greatly improved my photography skills.
I now sell some of my photos through Getty Images and am setting up my own studio and looking to make my photography a bit more than a hobby, all of which I have Flickr to thank for getting me going.
If you are ever given a chance to have your photo on the sign in page I would say “Go for it”; it’s an amazing opportunity and you will have lots of members of the Flickr community dropping by to say hello and will make many long lasting friendships. I will be sad when it’s time for my photo to go from the sign in page but it’s only fair that somebody else is given this awesome opportunity.
junku-newcleus (a.k.a. Junku Nishimura), Yamaguchi or Aichi prefecture, Japan
I got many contacts through Flickr’s front page, so, first, i would like to say that it is nice having friends who are from different cultures. Through them I even had exhibitions in Italy, France, Russia… I could not visit these places, but I attended a photo forum at Can Baste in Barcelona. I have learned a lot from this forum. Alfonso Castro, a professor and one of my contacts, realized me visiting.
If I had not met Flickr, I would have kept on paying taxes as a common member of society. Now I am no longer Mr. Common Sense. In other words, I quit my job as a cement expert after 18 years of working. Now I am a freelance photographer, and I don’t regret any of my decisions…for now :)
By the way, the funniest/nicest/most mind-blowing/most interesting/… comment I received over the years is a comment I received on my front page photo 18 months ago: “is this one really so good? i don’t think so ..i can’t get it ..is this just because it’s on the front page of Flickr?” No problem, photography is in the eye of the beholder!!!
+lyn, Yasuhiro Ubukata Fukushima, Japan
First of all, my English is poor. I’m sorry if the expressions might be not accurate.
About my Flickr homepage photo:
For instance, how many people will the person be able to meet within the life?
My photograph did a lot of various meetings and I want to thank everyone for that.Those meetings are actually more than my experience.
I live quietly remotely in the countryside where you seldomly meet anyone.
Nearly nobody knows my name.
This comparison is interesting. :)
Another thing that I am glad about are the many reactions my photos provoked.
I was able to encounter much talent, and it always excites me.
For me, the photograph was an act of seeing me who was completely isolated to the world.
I always confronted my inside. My umbrella photo on the Flickr homepage might show that I fear society and the world when thinking about my situation at that time.
But my photograph being seen by a lot of people and it is interesting to have obtained sympathy.
I live in Fukushima, Japan, now. I have taken the photograph from this place up to now.
One last story that is a little bit off topic but important to me:
As you know, a severe earthquake happened on 3/11 in Japan with a large number of deaths by the tsunami and much destruction as well as the accidents in the four reactors of the nuclear plant happened here in Fukushima. The accidents are still ongoing. In this serious situation, I decided to take a photograph at this place. As usual.
I will obtain inspiration from the current situation and take the photograph by my expression.
If it is the kind of photograph that infiltrates deeply in an individual’s mind, I am happy.
I hope that Japan revives.
Thank you Flickr.
code poet (a.k.a. Jim Stewart), Wasilla, Alaska
My wife and I moved to Alaska last year from Lexington, Kentucky. I am an electrician at a mine in far northwest Alaska inside the Arctic Circle. I have no training as a photographer: my skills I learned on Flickr. It is a marvelous place to get feedback on your photography and see really great photographs.
To have my photo on Flickr’s home page is really a great honor. The best thing about this exposure is having a large audience for my photos. It is humbling and flattering that so many people enjoy my photography and it has driven me to improve my skills in order to justify this. I’ve gained over 4000 contact friends — for which I am very grateful.
As far as real-world consequences, there were not too many. It has been an anecdote to share with people I meet.
I’ve been reading over the comments and am again humbled by all the kind words offered. One person said: “Reaching the skies, for our dreams.” I really like that. Another said, “Childhood is recalled!” This one is especially good.
Most comments fall into categories: Great shot,
How the photo makes them feel happy or inspired,
Made someone smile, Feel like a bug/ant,
Like Alice in Wonderland,
Their favorite of all time,
Like the perspective,
Asking about technique/camera settings,
Again, I am humbled by all the wonderful comments. Thanks to Flickr and all the great Flickr heads out there for making the very best photo-sharing site in the world.
orangeacid (a.k.a. Dan Foy), Nottingham, England, UK
Perhaps predictably, along with having my image featured on the Flickr homepage came a huge burst of Flickr contacts, and a huge overall increase in comments and exposure. It’s an interesting phenomenon because my style has evolved considerably since the homepage redesign. I still fairly often get other Flickr users commenting on ‘that’ photo, and then commenting on many more of my more recent photos – starting at the top of my photostream and working down – and still appreciating what I’m up to now, 3 years later.
I also find it cropping up all over the web fairly often. Sometimes I stumble across it myself, but I also get emails from other Flickr members who have seen it on other sites and have been kind enough to point me in its direction. I sell the image through Getty now, but a lot of the places I find it are on non-profit blogs, places like that. That’s fine by me, but I do get a bit annoyed when people steal it and pretend that they took it, some even going as far as putting their own copyright watermarks over it.
Since I took it I’ve started studying photography at degree level. It was one of the best decisions I ever made, and if anyone ever has a chance to study photography on a formal level then I highly recommend it – as cliché as it sounds, it really does change the way you perceive things around you and makes your life feel richer in general.
ccgd (a.k.a. Calum Davidson), Cromarty, Scotland, UK
Four years is a long time in the real world, and half an eternity in the Flickrverse, but back in June 2007 I received an e-mail asking if one of my photos could be used on the Flickr splash page. To say I was pleased was an understatement, but I was quite unprepared for the impact that it would have on me as a photographer, and how it helped me down the road from just being a guy with a camera to something quite different, and much more exciting.
I’ve been playing with a camera for a long time, since I was a student at Art School in the late 70’s. That’s where I bought my first SLR, a wonderful East German Practica built like a tank. It taught me the basics, and I moved on to the classic Olympus OM series (I still use Olympus cameras today) but it was only as an early adopter of both digital cameras and Flickr that I started to take photography really seriously, and joined the on-line photographic revolution of which Flickr has been at the heart.
Tree, Snow and Shadows (the picture featured on the homepage) is one of own favourites, and is unusual in that the final photo is much better than the scene that I thought I saw through the viewfinder. Snapped just outside the small town of Cromarty in the Highlands of Scotland, the day after a late winter snowstorm; it’s the classic combination of being in the right place, at the right time, and crucially being in the right place, at the right time with extra special light.
People’s reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, lots and lots of “wows”, some helpful technical comments on composition and light (yes it is a bit noisy). Some people made very thoughtful postings on how the photo made them reflect on faith and spirituality. Strangest of all was some people seeing the photo as an Album cover, inviting it to Album cover groups, and requesting its use for CD covers, mainly from Finnish Death Metal bands. Now that’s weird, as I’d think snow scenes are not hard to come by in Scandinavia, and Death Metal bands would want something a bit less, well, peaceful.
Being on the Flickr home page has given my photography a dramatic exposure to a global audience, and that audience’s appreciation of my work has given me confidence in my ability to take pictures. The confidence to sell my work, (I’ve now cornered a certain market on Getty Images for creative shots of Oil Rigs), the confidence to be published in books and magazines, the confidence to exhibit (I’ve two modest shows running concurrently in the small town where I live) and the confidence to describe myself as a photographer with a day job.
I’ve got a pretty serious and important day job, but thanks to Flickr I know that at heart I’m a photographer.
It’s been years since I have been on the Flickr homepage, but my wife and I continue to be amazed about that, it’s great to have so many contacts and comments every day and to know that your stream will be seen and maybe appreciated by so many people.
I was about 14 years old when i bought my first reflex, a zenit 122, and I was so proud of it. Film is my obsession and it’s really strange that my featured photo on flickr homepage is a digital one. It was one of my first digital shot and came up after a long period without shooting photos. It was a late summer sunday afternoon on a solitary beach, it was the one and only day i spent on the beach that year.
To be honest I’m slightly uncomfortable with that photo because it reminds me how “young” and rough was my sensibility at that time.
But i am so thankful because it allowed me to have that unique visibility.
Although it was years ago when I took that picture, I recognize that a couple of features are still present in my photos: I am still obsessed with geometrical lines and waste places.
The funniest thing of this photo is the controversy about the presence of the volleyball net that is being waged in the comments, basically there are two opposing fronts, those who think that the network is required and those who would do without. I personally think as Woody Allen, this makes no sense but «everyone needs the eggs».
rappensuncle (a.k.a. Mel Stoutsenberger),
Los Angeles, California, USA
The best comments I’ve received here on Flickr.com are simple and to the point, “thanks for sharing your photos”, I really like it when I read those words underneath one of my images. It means someone out there in the flickrverse was moved in some way by what they observed; maybe it brought back a few happy childhood memories or gave them inspiration for a project they were working on. Whatever the case may be, they took something with them; a fresh concept, an innovative idea, a new kind of lighting set-up, a different way of seeing the everyday things around us. This is what I found here and I too take something with me on a daily basis. The best thing by far about my exposure here on Flickr has been the people. I came here in 2005 to store my pictures in a safe, offsite place. But I found a visual gateway to the whole world.
pmorgan (a.k.a. Peter Morgan)
The best thing to come from the exposure I got from being on the Flickr homepage was that it gave me greater confidence in my photography. I wanted to shoot more pictures and I started to take my photography much more seriously. I got lots of feedback – much of it helpful, some of it funny and critical. One famous documentary photographer said I’d “clearly mastered light” while another well known photojournalist said of the photo I was showing him that his “grandmother could have taken the photo”. I learned to have trust in my own artistic sense.
Many more of my photos were picked up and published: they have been used in an Argentinian math text book, UN reports, coffee table books on China, a multimedia show for a museum in Liverpool, travel websites … it still amazes me when I get a request to use an image. Usually the image is paid for, although if it is worthy cause then I’ll just license it with a Creative Commons license.
Flickr changed photography. The aesthetic changed from a polished standard only accomplished well-equipped professionals could attain, to something more energetic and accessible. A great image is still hard to make, but the range of what constitutes great is wider. When I look at wonderful Flickr photographers’ work I am inspired. But every now and again someone new to Flickr will make me a contact and they’ll have posted a first few tentative images; the photos have an intriguing view, a great perspective – they see the world differently. I love that.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot…
Photos from and a big thank you to tarotastic, jenschapter3, nuomi, (nutmeg), kk+, welsh boy, visualpanic, xdjio, notsogoodphotography, jam343, aussiegall, junku-newcleus, +lyn, code poet, orangeacid, ccgd, Pierluigi Riccio, rappensuncle, and pmorgan.