Monday, September 25, 2006

Flickr.com vs. photo.net

Several years ago I was an active member of the photo.net community. This was when Philip Greenspun was still involved (in fact I think he subsidised the entire operation during its inception). Primarily an American thing, photo.net was often more equipment oriented than creativity oriented. Long debates about whether the X lens was better than the Y lens would often end with insults being hurled until someone would write "Why don't you all get outside and take a few photographs with those damned lenses?" A day later the same people would start arguing the inevitable Nikon vs Canon debate. And so on.

A year ago I was introduced to flickr.com and signed up as a "Pro". My reasons were two fold. Pete recommended it and I saw it as a useful off-site back up repository. A year later I see it all quite differently. Flickr does have the equipment freaks but mostly it is all about creativity and sharing of that creativity. Even more interesting is the fact that the community even gets away from computer screens and has flickrmeets. I've only been on one such event but it was fun and rewarding. Watching others' techniques is always fascinating and there's a lot to learn from how others use their equipment to be creative. Flickr is also a true "web" of activity and I have contacts from all over the place with all types of interest. Some of these have a real sense of humor so the repartee that exists in some comments threads can be amusing (or trite, depending on the PoV).

So, I now rarely visit photo.net but have become a frequent Flickr contributor. And Flickr has become an integral part of focalplane.com, providing an ever changing front page. It may now be owned by Yahoo! but that doesn't seem to have influenced its somewhat goofy interface at all. Go Flickr!