Flickr

Community sites where strangers come together to mutually admire each other seem to be all the rage at the moment, but I’d never gotten into them to any extent until I discovered Flickr. Maybe it was just the serendipitous fact that I’d started to cultivate a casual interest in digital photography at the time when I happened to stumble across it and the excellent WordPress plugin which powers my photo gallery, but it’s really a great way to spend some time online.

It’s basically a site to upload and host your photos, but unlike the dispassionate likes of Photobucket, home to endless joke message board images, Flickr is about a community of people sharing real photographs. You get a lot of shite that I mostly couldn’t care less about like people’s birthday parties, but the real stuff – landscapes, wildlife, cityscapes, etc – can be absolutely beautiful. It really shows how the digital revolution has taken photography from a somewhat niche hobby into being something that everyone enjoys, and I’ve spent hours browsing and commenting on some great images from fun stuff (take a look at mine) to more serious matters. All the more unusual that I’ve barely even looked through a book of photographs before.

Flickr’s going to be my outlet for the photos I take when I’m in Japan and I’m thinking of getting a pro account now just because I’m having so much fun playing around it. It’s a great example of how good a web application can be and should be a lesson on how to design a powerful but incredibly simple web interface without having to pander to proprietary browser features.

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