Photo-set: The BookBook iPad case from TwelveSouth

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, 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 now lets anyone be a gallery curator

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.)

Creativity inside the boxes


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.

Getty to extend the long-tail of its image collection with talent it discovers on Flickr

The Yahoo!-owned photo-sharing service Flickr today announced a “partnership” with the digital media licensing firm Getty Images to offer a Flickr-branded collection on . Photo editors from Getty will select images and photographers who post photos on Flickr and will invite them to participate in the program.

According to the announcement , “Getty Images has the best editors globally taking the pulse of the market. In the next several months, they will be exploring Flickr’s collection of public photos and inviting some of these photographers to be part of the Flickr collection on Getty Images.”

Clients of Getty Images (basically, every design studio, advertising agency and media company in the world) will then be able to purchase the rights to the selected Flickr photographs.

Bottomline: Flickr is NOT setting up an arrangement where anyone can purchase the rights to all photos on Flickr. Any person who shares photos on Flickr has a way to easily control the rights granted on their photos — and even who can see the photos they post. What this means is that Getty will be searching through Flickr for talented photographers who may not today be professionals, but who may have work that could extend the “long tail ” of Getty’s collection.

Here’s a FAQ that Flickr has started regarding the program.

More coverage: CNet

(Via: )

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Some lessons l learned about ‘citizen journalism’ ten years ago today

Lost photos: I shot this photo from
my office window last April.
Unfortunately, I can’t locate the photos shot
from the same location on April 16, 1998.

My first ever accidental online “citizen journalism” (before the term existed) experience occurred ten years ago, today. Unfortunately, because of the ephemeral nature of the web and certain “wish we knew then what we know now” practices, there is no place for me to point to what I did on that day.

Today, posting “weather photos” is one of those participatory “user-generated-content” activities that even the most up-tight control-freak media company encourages. In the past week or so, I’ve been emailed by at least two big brand online services requesting that I join their network of weather watchers due to my practice of posting photos of weather outside my office window on the 7th floor of a building near Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Ten years ago today, Will Weaver (then an employee at Hammock, now the big-guy — literally and figuratively — at the e-mail marketing company, emma) and I did a rather remarkably dumb thing. We had an early digital camera and decided to take photos of a tornado that was heading straight towards our building.

All the smart employees (everyone but the two of us) headed to the core of our office building, but we were thinking how great it would be to take some photos and post them on the website. That was a rather out-of-the-box idea as the site was your basic brochure site at the time. Not like today where not only do we have several work-related blogs on the site, but every employee also has a “people page” where they can post information they’d like to share.

Back then, Will and I shot a series of photos (actually, I think Will was “shooting” and I was “photo directing”) of what turned out to be the tornado passing by our office as it touched down in Centennial Park on its way to hitting downtown (including the stadium, then under construction) before doing major widespread damage in East Nashville. (Today, the Nashville Tennessean has a retrospective of the days events.)

After the tornado passed our office building, Will and I and a few other Hammock employees jumped in a car and (I don’t recommend this to anyone — indeed, do not ever do this) drove out to survey the damage in the area immediately surrounding our office. A few blocks from our office, we came-upon what turned out to be one of the most tragic events related to that day. As we watched, a large team of Nashville emergency service and fire department personnel were attempting to save a Vanderbilt student who was pinned beneath a tree in Centennial Park. Unfortunately, the student died later.

When we returned to the office, Will posted the photos at the URL (which no longer works) Within an hour, and other news services were pointing to the photos and the site, which perhaps on a good day got 100 visitors, was (thanks to a robust server) getting tens of thousands of viewers. Sometime during the night, a radio talk show host I had never heard of until then, Art Bell, linked to the photos and started talking about them on his show. (Later I learned that visiting aliens and bad weather were a staple of his show.) The link from Art Bell ended up crashing our servers, as I recall.

Several years ago, we discovered that we had “lost” those photos and any archive of what the site was like on that day. I haven’t actually given up on them turning up somewhere, but searches of the WayBackMachine and other services have not turned up any mirror sites that captured the photos.

One of the reasons I now am obsessed with backing up and organizing digital media — and displaying it on multiple platforms — is my disappointment in having lost that April 16, 1998 moment in time — as experienced by a few of us.

Today, Hammock Inc. would have the photos uploaded to and instantly and the photos would be backed up on three different servers in our offices and off-site. And, oh yeah, they’d also be posted on that “Out My Office Window” Flickr set. Additionally, we would grant rights to anyone wanting to display the photos for news-coverage purposes.

We’ve come a long way in the past ten years. Today, the city of Nashville has a network of siren alarms that warn people of weather emergencies. Vanderbilt students can be contacted immediately via text message during any type of emergency. And today, the notion of individual witnesses of an event providing personal coverage directly to an audience, and not mediated by a professional news operation, is accepted as a norm — and even “covered” by traditional media.

Later: Laura Creekmore, who then and now lived in East Nashville, recalls the day’s event (she was one of the smart people who went to our building’s basement). I spoke today also with Will Weaver whose recollection is similar to mine. If Lewis Pennock or others are reading this, please comment to fill-in-the-blanks of any details from that day.