As far as social networking goes, flickr is undoubtedly, my all time fave. It’s defiantly the network I’ve spent the most time on. Like so many other flickreenos, photography is something I’ve been ‘into’, boder-line obsessed with, since I was an early teen. Flickr is purpose built for people like us.
Within its sprawling archive of billions of photos, people like me have tried to make sense of parts of it, by curating and collating photos into groups. As you can imagine, with that many photos and contributors, you’ll find mainstream groups – topics such as ‘London’ and ‘Dogs’ – incredibly popular. Then, there’s less mainstream, the off the beaten track stuff, the niche. Those backwater groups, are the areas I’ve always had a soft spot for.
I give you, in my humble opinion, the top ten niche groups on flickr. According to me.
A group started by a friend of mine who’s rules are : “If you see the word ‘Ho’ anywhere then take a picture of it and add it to this group. Make sure you crop any surrounding letters out of the picture, that’s it really.”
9. Chip Shop
No prizes for guessing what this group is all about. That’s right, photos of fish and chip shops and all who sail in them.
File under “often making the ugly look nice”, the chief exponents of this group are often artisan beauty spotters bringing decay back to life.
Voyerism on a new level. Participants are invited to spread out (typically, using very neat compositional techniques) the contents of their bag and take a photo of it.
You take a camera with a flash, then get someone to do an impression of a horse whilst you take their photo. The flash freezes the horsey goodness. A very amusing thing to do at a party.
The pre entry qualification to this group is ordering some ‘googly eyes’ from eBay. The next step is to stick them to something to make a face, then, take a photo of the new face and add the result to this group. Some of the results are fantastic. The ‘in public’ ones are generally, awesome.
There are many groups on flickr inviting members to critique photographs. This group is specifically to appraise the virtues of a plate. Not the contents of the plate, or ever the photograph itself, but the plate. A complex ‘post 1, comment on 5’ system has now all but been forgotten, but the essence of plartism, remains.
Some of these entries make you wonder how on earth they went to print. What on earth made someone think, that such an image would make a suitable, representative, consumer facing tourist product. Priceless.
If you took lomography, flickr and instagram and mixed them together and gave it a lucky mascot, you might end up with the photographer Martin Parr. This group is a shrine to his undefinable style of street photography. Some of it even comes close.
I give this group the number 1 spot because of the pure brilliance of some of it’s content. It’s a real leveller of a group as everyone has access to the subject matter in question. A tongue in cheek group with over 14,000 members. Some genuinely beautiful photos, some downright fugly and some utterly mundane shots of, you guessed it, empty chairs. The ubiquitous design form, often in juxtaposed surroundings.
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This was such a hard list to crunch down and I’m still thinking of ones that should have perhaps been in there, like Fear & Loathing; stuff inspired by the Hunter S. Thompson classic, and Dogs in Costumes, which does exactly what it says on the tin.
I had to draw a line in the sand somewhere though, and that’s where I’ve drawn it.
Have you got any suggestion of groups that should have been considered? Please let us know in the comments below!