Flickr Launches “Galleries”
“Photography is a system of visual editing. At bottom, it is a matter of surrounding with a frame a portion of one’s cone of vision, while standing in the right place at the right time. Like chess, or writing, it is a matter of choosing from among given possibilities, but in the case of photography the number of possibilities is not finite but infinite.” – John Szarkowski, On Photography by Susan Sontag
Earlier today Flickr launched their latest feature: Galleries. Galleries allow you to be a virtual curator, selecting up to 18 photos to add to an exhibit of sorts on your Flickrstream. To get a sense of what I mean, you can check out the first gallery I built myself here: Motel America. I also made a second gallery highlighting 18 recent favorite photos of mine from DMU’s Lightbox. You can check that gallery out here.
Galleries seem like a really interesting way to let you showcase some of the most interesting content that you find on Flickr. While Flickr already has faves, you might think of galleries more as super faves. Photos that you like so much, or built around a theme that you like so much, that you’ve decided to dedicate a special place in your photostream to it. I really like this latest addition and am glad to see Flickr offer it. I hope that lots of people on Flickr take advantage of it. I know that I plan on building quite a few galleries over time.
I found the new Galleries feature relatively straightforward, intuitive and easy to use. Congrats to the Flickr team for a great new feature on Flickr!
You can find Flickr’s official blog announcement on Galleries here. There is an FAQ on Galleries here. If you want to see photos of yours that have appeared in galleries so far you can go to this page here (this is for me so just change the user name in the url to your user name and you should be able to see it for you — note this feature may still be a bit buggy as I’ve already found at least one of my photos in a gallery that is not listed on this page).
Photos that Flickr or a user on Flickr designates “moderate” or “restricted” cannot be put into galleries. You also cannot add your own photos to a gallery.
I’m still not sure 100% how I feel about the 18 photo limit in galleries. While I understand the idea of forcing you to edit to include the “best,” I think that this limit might be a bit low. The most recent photography exhibits I’ve visited myself personally (Robert Frank, Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Lee Friedlander, etc.) all included way more than 18 photos. Of course, theoretically, one could just create gallery 1, gallery 2, gallery 3, and use links, but this seems a bit messy. Stephen Shankland over at CNET reported on this aspect as well: “unfortunately, Galleries does not lift one limit I see for Flickr. It’s good for sharing photos with others, but not so good for assembling multiple members’ photos from group events–say, a family’s photos from a vacation or attendees’ photos of a wedding.”
I do think that there would be good demand for a gallery where a user could aggregate group shots from many users, including their own, to build an “event” sort of gallery. Maybe Flickr could consider dropping the 18 photo limit for Pro accounts in the future.
Update: nonac. was one of the accounts who got to test this new feature while it was still in development. He’s already built 22 galleries that you can view here.