Flickr Photography

Back to Flickr

I’ve used Flickr since 2005. It used to be the ‘poster child’ of what was then affectionately known as “Web 2.0” – the concept that the web was evolving from a top-down read-only publishing network into a two-way read-write web. Websites were beginning to act like fully functioning desktop software. Forms could update information without refreshing the page. Social media was being born. They were heady days for geeks like me.

Flickr lost its way after it was sold to Yahoo! and began to be used mainly as a backup service for people’s smartphones. I was guilty of that too. The community seemed to disappear, being sucked into the algorithmic doom-scrolling FOMO-inducing behemoth known as Facebook. Dedicated photographers moved on to other specialist networks such as SmugMug, 500px, and others. But Flickr hung on in there. Out of loyalty I kept paying for my Pro account.

Fast forward to 2018 when SmugMug bought Flickr. From what I’ve seen, Flickr has been resuscitated and the community seems to be gathering again. Some of the early key figures have rejoined the staff. The user interface is being updated with some nice Flickr-y features.

And best of all, every single photo I’ve ever uploaded to the service since 2005 is still available. And findable. And Creative Commons licensed. Not many services have endured so long, and I think Flickr has a bright future. It’s time for me to really re-engage with Flickr, and for the last year or so I’ve been uploading my best images. I no longer upload by the bucket load, but have gone back to how I began, carefully choosing, uploading, describing and tagging. I enjoy it.

Here’s some of my latest photos, or head over to view my photos on Flickr.


A walk from Penzance to Marazion

Penzance Photography

Penzance seafront early on a spring morning













Posted from Battery Rocks, Penzance, Cornwall.

Cornwall Photography

Breaking waves on Penzance Promenade


The sea was rough earlier on today, with huge waves breaking on the sea defences below Penzance Promenade. At high tide, spray was thrown ten metres or more into the air.

I managed to capture this photo on my iPhone as we sheltered from a shower by Gino’s restaurant next to the Queens Hotel. There were much bigger waves, but since I value my phone, after capturing a quick video with Vine, I opted to enjoy the waves and keep my phone dry in my pocket.


Truro Cathedral


The End of the Line

Penzance railway station


Testing #Pressgram


Chile News Photography Travelling

Graffiti and Murals in Santiago de Chile

Parts of Santiago de Chile are rather run-down, made worse by the earthquake in 2010. Crumbling buildings and broken walls are de rigeur as they wait their turn for reconstruction or demolition. Artists have helped to add some welcome splashes, and often, riots of colour to the downtown area.

Here are some photos to give you a taste of the Santiago graffiti talent.

















Metadata News Photography

Photo workflows, online backup, metadata and memories

Over the last few years the way I take and manage photos has changed. I used to take photos on a compact digital camera, and every time I came back from an event or holiday I would transfer them to iPhoto on my Mac. Those photos I liked best I would upload to my Flickr account. It was pretty simple.

Now, things are more complex. I have a digital SLR which I use to shoot in RAW, and an iPhone. I have a MacBook Pro and an iMac. Many of the photos I take on my iPhone are uploaded to services such as Instagram automatically. Auto upload is enabled on the iOS Google+ app. My photos are becoming fragmented, and I’m not sharing as many photos as I used to. Lightroom is on my MacBook and iPhoto is on my iMac.

Because the RAW photos must be developed (I use Lightroom) I upload less frequently. When I do edit in Lightroom, the photos tend to stay as RAW. It takes ages to export, and I always like to think that I’ll keep the RAW images in case I want to redevelop them at a later stage (I’ve encountered heavily edited JPEGs in the past I wish I hadn’t been so heavy with).

So I have RAW photos on my MacBook Pro. A neglected iPhoto library lives on my iMac. I experimented with Picasa 3.9 to extract myself from iPhoto because the metadata isn’t stored in the EXIF or IPTC headers of JPEGs by using an export routine.

My photos are everywhere, and I’ve let things get into a mess.

I have had a look at online photo backup services such as Snapjoy and Everpix, both of whom state that you can have all of your photos all in one place by aggregating from other sources (Instagram, etc). This they do, but you can’t add any extra metadata – titles, descriptions and tags. These humble fields represent memories and context. What is a photo if you can’t add notes to it? I’m lucky enough to have some family photos from the 19th century, and some of them have been written on the reverse in pencil. I know who is in many of them, where they were taken.

I have had a look at OpenPhoto, so that I could create my own personal version of Flickr. Tricky to set up, it too doesn’t store any metadata in the images themselves. Also, some folk suggest that it’s not a system for tens of thousands of photos (I have 25K+).

If I use an online system for organising and sharing my photos, I would like to be able move them to another system, user-added metadata intact. All my titles, descriptions, tags, and location data. Permanently. That metadata represents my memories. It’s the writing on the back of a photo.

What I keep coming back to is Flickr. Good old Flickr. I compare all photo sharing sites back to it, and none of them live up to it in terms of functionality and community. What I really need to do is get some auto uploading software that intelligently updates my iOS camera roll to Flickr, with privacy set to ‘private’. Periodically, on whichever computer I choose, I could use Flickr’s excellent ‘Organizr’ tool to put photos into Sets and Collections. There are tools which will download your photo stream and embed metadata into the images themselves. There must be a setup where I can use Flickr as the hub for everything? Could it work? This I intend to try out. 2013 will be a return to Flickr for me.

So, how will it work?

I have discovered an iOS app called CameraSync which can synchronise my camera roll to Flickr (as well as S3, FTP, Dropbox, etc). This can be configured to run automatically when I get home and the app recognises the SSID of my WiFi router. Or I can override it and upload via 3G (upload speeds on the 3 network here in this part of the UK can be 1.6Mb/s which is pretty decent).

Using the Flickr tool from Lightroom, I will upload all developed images into sets.

I have discovered SocialFolders, a service and client which downloads content from social media sites onto a local drive.┬áIt’s a kind of distributed Dropbox, if you like. They will also upload – folders become sets on Flickr. Thus I can keep a local copy of all my photos as JPEGs and should anything happen to Flickr, I still have my photos.

What the SocialFolders client does not yet do is embed metadata, but I am in discussions with Philippe Honigman who runs the service. He says that this feature may come in 2013. If this does happen, it’s a huge deal for photographers who take their metadata seriously. We own our photos, and we also own our metadata.

Let’s see if this works.



St Mary’s church, Penzance