I’ve posted on Flickr a set of photos of the new and highly anticipated (well, for some people) BookBook iPad case. The case is handmade and (I swear) looks and feels like a century-old leather-bound classic. You can learn more about the company that makes it on their website, TwelveSouth.com. The company has a Nashville connection (the Twelve South name should give that away to locals) as an alumni of Griffin Technologies founded it. I had seen one of their MacBook Pro cases, but am not a “case” person for my laptop. When I heard they were coming out with an iPad version, I placed my order immediately. (In other words, I bought this and have no relationship in any way with the company (now, a small company in Charleston, S.C.) — except as a fan.)
Flickr has long had a feature called “sets” that allows a user to organize groupings of photos in any way the photographer wants to share them. Flickr recently added another feature that, at first, seems to be the same thing — but the new feature allows users to collect, annotate and display their favorite photos taken by other Flickr users. These “galleries” allow anyone to curate up to 15 photos — none of which can be their own. As an example of what you can do with such a gallery, I’ve curated a gallery of some of my favorite night-time Nashville photos found on Flickr. Another example of something you can do: If several friends are photographing the same event, it’s a great way to display a “best of” collection. (Note: a user can opt-out of allowing any of their photos to be displayed in such galleries.)
There are several reasons I love what photographer Peter Norby did on his Flickr account the other day. If you are viewing it as I am seeing it (on the morning of April 29) all 12 photos appearing on the front page of his account make up a mosaic celebrating a major accomplishment in the lives of his two children.
The first reason I love this: I’m a long time, avid user of Flickr and enjoy the way in which people are constantly coming up with ways to use its features and functions in new and unique ways. I not only find myself being awed by the beauty or skill displayed in the photography people share, but by the way in which they tag them, group them or find ways to build communities around different types of photos. But then, someone like Peter comes along and does something totally different (or, at least to me, totally different — others have done it) and I am awed in a completely new way. On the page, there are layers of artistic expression that perhaps only a geek into photography might appreciate about what Peter has done, but since that describes me, well, that’s the first reason I love it.
The second reason I love this: In my family, we have celebrated the exact same events many years ago (about 12, if my math is correct). “Suzuki” families appreciate the significance of what “a book recital” means — many months of practice, typically a year in the early books, can go into it. I know the pride (and relief) that a parent (and Suzuki “coach”) feels — and that are uniquely expressed on Peter’s Flickr page today. That it brought back such pleasant memories is the second reason I love it.
I’m sure there will be lots of chatter suggesting Flickr is way late to the video party. Of course, the reality is that those who live far out on the leading edge often lose sight of the fact that the vast majority of people still don’t even share photos via e-mail. The majority of people still don’t have digital cameras, much less some easy-to-download means of capturing video. And what Flickr is doing — starting out by allowing only 90 second videos — makes it clear that they’re not trying to be another YouTube — this is something different.
But, then, I confess. I love Flickr. I love just about everything about it. While there’s a “free” version, it’s one of the few online services I gladly pay an annual fee for a “Pro” version due to its incredible array of services and features. It’s one of the few services I use that I believe is just about perfect.
I shoot video and photography using the same camera (well, most of the time) and I upload them both to the same desktop software (iPhoto), so why wouldn’t I want to save and share them on the web using the same service? It just makes sense to me.
I’ll still use YouTube, just not the same way I’ll use Flickr.
Later: Some folks are already harping on the ’90 second’ limitation. While I think Flickr will probably expand this time limit later, the time-collar is actually an opportunity for thinking about video in a new way — in my opinion. One of the challenges with video is the editing process — it’s a new skill for most of us. However, sharing video doesn’t have to be limited to the linear narrative piece we’ve come to expect after years of watching TV. In reality, those linear pieces are typically a series of clips. What if, using a Flickr set, you can present those clips in a way in which the viewer can understand why they are being grouped together, but watch them in a new non-linear way? For example, people can already present non-linear video stories on a map, for example — posting small clips of video on maps using the MyMaps feature of Google Maps (example, how-to). Flickr’s new feature will enable this type of video story-telling as well. Here is a great insta-tutorial from Andrew Baron (of Rocketbook) about using Flickr sets to present a series of videos in a way that could be very helpful to viewers. (Andrew’s post via Twitter from Dave Winer)
I’ll be experimenting in the morning and will update this post with quick review then.
In the meantime, here is an embed of the video Flickr used to launch the service: