I joined Flickr during May 2005, two months after Yahoo bought the activity from Canadian Ludicorp. Six years later I must have uploaded about 12 thousand pictures organized in 260 sets and 11 Collections. I also participate in 27 groups, some of which I was invited to join by their administrators who came across my pictures by accident. If the stats Flickr reports are correct, then about 54 thousand views of my shots have been recorded to this day, but I am sure there are many redundancies in this number... mainly because of pictures that have been viewed multiple times by the same viewers. Far less viewers I had then than the number of views*. But definitely several thousand people saw at least one of my pictures. Now, this is not something to boast about. I know there are hundreds of thousands photographers out there with much more powerful stats than mine. So, ego of mine, calm down. You ain't too bad, but you ain't that good either. I also know there are thousands of my shots for which I was the only viewer to this day. These are not bad photographs, but as I post many of my pictures untitled, they are difficult to find by those surfers who navigate Flickr for fun. A couple of my pictures were used by individuals in their commercial brochures, one restaurant in Prague and a travel agency in Hawaii, US. Quite proud to see this! My own personal views of my own shots are not recorded in the Flickr stats, as I am permanently logged in, when I watch anything at all. I also got a 'pro' account, meaning that I am paying an annual fee as part of Flickr's Freemium business model. It's been a great experience.
With this background, I am embarrassed to admit that I had no idea what the concept of Flickr Galleries was. Flickr recently notified me that someone had used one of my photographs in one of his galleries. It wasn't the fist time this happened, but I never paid much attention to it. This time, curious to find out what this was about I went to Flickr itself. Well, it's like this. In Flickr you can still create and hold a membership account without necessarily posting any photographs. Maybe you don't like to shoot. Maybe you don't like to share. Whatever. However, what you could do is express yourself via other people's creative work. You become a curator. Like curators normally do in musea and galleries, you undertake to set-up a show with Flickr photographs about a theme you come up with. You then search Flickr for candidate photographs about this theme, select those that you like the most, and expose them to your public. That's a Flickr Gallery. No more no less...
Interesting, quite interesting. With 5 billion** + photographs to select from, I believe each one of you could become a curator. Create a number of galleries and express yourselves via other people's photographic work. Often, known curators are as famous celebrities as the known artists themselves. You could even create artistic galleries with photographs of people who'd be the last on the planet to be considered artistic by any measure. As an example, go explore my own sets and create a few cool galleries with the pictures you find. Being neither an artist nor a curator, I consider myself totally incapable of doing this myself, that is, select 18 single photographs out of my 12 thousand total, and create a single 'artistic' gallery around a theme. So, be my guest! I might publish a book with your Flickr Galleries based upon my own photographic 'work'. I only hope it doesn't end-up being a one-blank-page book though...
So, next time you feel kinda bored, instead of surfing into your usual pastimes, like your social networks, sports and fashion, the Huffington Post etc, go express yourself artistically. Open up an account on Flickr, if you don't have one yet, and create some Galleries. Comment them and advertise them to your friends via your social networking activity, Twitter, Facebook, etc... in other words, have some fun, for a change! And don't forget to send me (via comments on this blogpost) links to your samples of creative expression. I think I know some people who could be very good at this!
* OMG, I'm talking like Master Yoda now!
** Fkickr stats reported in September last year