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    Flickr is a unique way to view the joys, sorrows, and routines of human life.

    Photography is a discrete technology, but life is continuous. You cannot learn about having a baby, or dancing, or cancer by simply typing in keywords and seeing what photos pop up. Life is experienced through watching real lives over days, weeks, months, and years. It’s about absorbing the process of living, the repetitiveness and the change.

    I have been on Flickr for three years now, and my contacts and friends have allowed me to see their lives, and I have learned from it and been touched by it.

    I have seen many Flickr lives come and go. The newcomers who have interesting photography but don’t ever seem to learn the nick of developing relationships. The flash in the pans who develop huge networks and gather front pages, and burn out in months. The people who no matter how hard they try are just not good photographers. And conversely, the people who within a period of a few special months turn from hacks into artists. The Flickr regulars who get burned out by the grind of Flickr, or whose connectivity is interrupted by the demands of their other “real” life.

    I have seen that once people leave Flickr for any extended time, they never come back; or if they do, it’s not the same. A Flickr life is a treadmill and a marathon, and once you stop running, it never seems very appealing to start again.

    I have seen babies and marriages and divorces and graduations and new jobs and travels and extended silliness and depression and death. I have seen my contacts use Flickr as a source of escape, exploration, and rejuvenation. I have seen artistic visions emerge, and run out of energy too.

    Thanks for sharing your lives with me through Flickr.

    {maeve}, sREe inspired., Walker Dukes, and 78 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. Now and Here 46 months ago | reply

      Cool silhouette shot... a figurine of an old lady with a weird bonnet?

      Very wise words, Kevin, and you are right; I've seen all of these kinds of experiences on Flickr. For my own part, I've taken some recent breaks of a few weeks, while always doing photography. I am now trying to still do Flickr, and , but at a much slower saner pace, more like a long stroll than a marathon.

      I am someone who often has interests for a while, then abandons them, and then sometimes comes back to them. Photography has been one of those, more off than on for decades -- one of the things I wanted to do well, but never quite did... until I got going on Flickr. It was great to share photos and have an audience as I never could before, and to see what others do, and get a view of their photography and their lives. But what was really crucial in keeping the cycle going and pushing me to improve was the positive reinforcement. At first, just comments and faves, then a growing network, Explore and some Front Pages. Flawed and shallow, maybe, but it kept me doing photography and posting.

      Now that I find myself among those who are clearly blacklisted from Explore, the motivation to continue is admittedly less. But I am now doing photography every day, and what I post on Flickr is just the tiny tip of the iceberg. Without the shallower motivation of Explore & FP, I'm trying to find that truer and more lasting motivation: doing it for the love of it.

      The other thing that pulls me back is the people I've met here. I truly enjoy seeing what they're posting, doing and thinking. You regularly have something interesting and valuable to share, and I really appreciate that. And I think it's OK to visit once in a while, catch up a bit, and not see visits as a daily obligation.

      I often *don't* post shots that I really like, *only* because I feel like I can't devote the time to visiting all of the people who are kind enough to visit me, and I don't want to feel bad about it. Something is wrong with this picture.

      At some point I may do what at least one of my best contacts has done.... "Showcase only" posts, with all comments and notes turned off, making it very clear that return visits are rare and optional; then maybe I could post a photo or a few per day, every day.

      Anyway, too much rambling in a post that you may not even read! I hope you are having a great vacation.

    2. Rozanne Hakala 46 months ago | reply

      Well said... I have seen and experienced personally many of the things you describe. Flickr is amazing, tedious, inspirational, disingenuous, brilliant, surprising, rewarding and so much more. I am genuinely so thankful I found it and have learned so much from friends and contacts here. What a great place!

    3. Foxy Photog 46 months ago | reply

      Very different and very nice.

    4. rkramer62 46 months ago | reply

      I love it when you wax philosophical. Thanks for sharing your thoughts ~ very insightful!

    5. Señor Jaime [deleted] 46 months ago | reply

      I am not sure which of those categories I fit into...but I might have ti split into a couple...all true stuff!

    6. LukeOlsen 46 months ago | reply

      Thanks for sharing... I drop out every once in awhile but I always manage to come back!

    7. LiesBaas-Bit Of Track Lately... 46 months ago | reply

      You are so right>I have seen the same, hahaha! Must admid, life without Flickr............I find it very hard. So that is why I keep posting and looking, and enjoying as much as possible. Hope to see you again!

    8. axiepics 46 months ago | reply

      That was well said. I often think back over the years I've been here, and the contacts who have maintained an ongoing relationship. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    9. BekonTM 45 months ago | reply

      Thank you Kevin for these words! Flickr as artistic life mirror, interesting point and very appreciated.

    10. Robert Snache - 45 months ago | reply

      Perfect analysis of flickr life.

    11. kiki1986xxx [deleted] 45 months ago | reply

      Seen in:

      Flickr Bronze Award

      Post 1, and award 5

    12. Aleks_Kuntz 45 months ago | reply

      Seen in:

      Flickr Bronze Award

      Post 1, and award 5

    13. -Mufidah- 45 months ago | reply

      Seen in:

      Flickr Bronze Award

      Post 1, and award 5

    14. Lilian 62 45 months ago | reply

      Seen in:

      Flickr Bronze Award

      Post 1, and award 5

    15. Bold Huang 45 months ago | reply

      Seen in:

      Flickr Bronze Award

      Post 1, and award 5

    16. KentV999 45 months ago | reply

      Fascinating piece here... and quite an accurate assessment I'd say. While never having tons of contacts, I had a "group" I would hang with, and we had a pretty steady relationship, if you will. But I fell into the "real life getting in the way with Flickr" category and have only recently started back posting a bit. I really enjoy taking pictures and Flickr seems like the logical output for that activity. Otherwise I'm just collecting MBs of data on my hard drive with no one to interact with about it. So Flickr provides both a loose community feel (it's certainly not facebook) and also a chance to interact with other people who enjoy a similar hobby.

    17. zellana 41 months ago | reply

      Hi Kevin,
      You have great pictures. I admire people who can see the world through their eyes differently and have an ability and talants to make us believe them. I use this photo on the page facts about depression of my site. Maybe your art work will inspire these desperate people for new perceptions.
      Thanks for sharing.

    18. Robert Saucier 39 months ago | reply

      Great text, Kevin.

    19. *HamimCHOWDHURY* [Only Posting photos ] 33 months ago | reply

      wonderful spotted Light
      Like this execution ,
      the narrations are reality,
      and am the one who joined in 2003 and left and again came back in 2007
      and now again in 2010 with a pro account, B4 those two times I was a causal one, more of flcikr-ing with out knowing much of the button to operate, so got less interested
      and left, for first time, after 3 months, and in second time i left after using for 9 months b coz of my job got me booked there,
      this time some of my friend helps me to learn abt the buttons and make good way to have interaction in this net work, and this time am here over one yr, and got many EXPLORED FP and finally got in Getty image,
      Flickr gives you joy as much as PAIN too, ,,,,,,,,

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