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By Emma Thom on

Flickr Commons is five years old

On 16 January 2013, Flickr Commons celebrated its fifth birthday. To showcase its diversity, founding member the Library of Congress asked 56 member institutions to submit their most viewed photographs.

They put together four cracking favourites galleries, which include three images from our photostream that always get a lot of attention on Flickr.

For example, the photograph below, from the spirit photographs of William Hope, has (so far) been viewed 141,105 times, favourited 2,369 times, and has received 500 comments.

Elderly couple with a young female spirit

'Mother and Child'

Woman in a rowing boat

Flickr Commons, for the uninitiated, is your opportunity to contribute to (or simply to gawp at) the visual collections of institutions around the world. The Commons has two key goals:

  1. To showcase hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives
  2. To show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer

A perfect example of this done well is the photostream of the National Library of Ireland: they do a really marvellous job of adding to the Library’s collection by contributing information based on personal knowledge or expertise.

Such a rich repository is an exciting prospect for photography enthusiasts like James Morley. He’s put together some interesting statistics about the Commons, and some wonderful resources which rely on the metadata supplied by everyone who contributes to the Commons.

The Library of Congress put it brilliantly in their blog post about the 5th anniversary:

Over the last five years, [Flickr members] have created a wonderful community of conversation about pictures, but also left room for individual activity through viewing, favoriting, and creative remixing.

At the inspired request of the LOC, our fellow Commons members curated their own sets of celebration images. To do our bit for the birthday bash, we turned our attention to the men and women on the other side of the lens. In our Flickr photostream you’ll find photographs of photographers; some unknown, some among the most famous in the world, most of whom are represented in our collection.

Beach photograph of a photographer, woman and Felix the Cat puppet

Since joining the Commons five years ago, we’ve had an incredible 2,609,590 views of the 425 photographs we’ve shared, but this 5th birthday celebration has given us a renewed passion for the project, and we’ve been inspired by our Commons partners to commit to sharing our collection more readily and in more creative ways. I hope we’ll see you there.

19 comments on “Flickr Commons is five years old

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