Flickr: Collective Photographic Memory

I was struck by the connection between the readings and a controversial announcement by online photo sharing platform Flickr earlier this week: In February 2019, the platform will delete any pictures in excess of 1,000 photos per user, unless they upgrade to a paid account. Since 2013, the site had offered 1 terabyte of free storage per user, or around 100,000 photos (assuming 10 megabyte per photo, which is larger than most).

For a long time, Flickr was a safe haven for some great, many mediocre and countless terrible photographers whose oeuvre I won’t mourn. However, seeing their “photographs as records, first and foremost, not as aesthetic objects or art”, as Caswell argues, demonstrates what’s at stake: I don’t know how many of the platform’s ~ 7 Billion images will be deleted in February but, and here Evan Hill joins the chant, “at stake is nothing less than our collective memory.”

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