Things We’ve Learned from The Commons on Flickr

Posted by on Oct 27 2008 | Other

Since joining The Commons on Flickr in June, 2008 George Eastman House has shared over 400 photographs with Flickr users (receiving over 400,000 views!) The 5th participant behind the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, George Eastman House is now one of 12 public institutions sharing their photography collections through The Commons.

The goal of this online community—the brainchild of Flickr’s Superstar Princess of Special Projects, George Oates—is to engage the public with historic photography collections from all over the world. Flickr is perhaps the world’s largest archive of digital images and its users are invited not only to look at and repurpose photographs but are encouraged to tag (keyword) and comment on the images.

This personal interaction with photographs is one of the most interesting parts of The Commons; it is exhilarating to have the opportunity to share our collection with such a large audience and to read and respond to their comments.

The majority of comments are in the family of, wow!, wonderful! beautiful, thank you for sharing these treasures, gracias, fabulous, super, stunning, fantastica, striking, stupenda, too cool! gorgeous, and incredible. In addition to this head swelling praise we are also learning new facts about our photographs. Here are a few of the fun things we’ve learned from Flickr users:

Click on any of the photos to take you to their Flickr page.

 There is someone out there tagging all the photographs that show moustaches! And surprise we have quite a few fabulous examples.

A user helped us date this picture of baseball player Matty McIntyre by indentifying his jersey

A series of images of a train wreck ca. 1900 were misidentified as Harrison NY, when actually the wreck occurred in Garrison, NY!

There are a lot of people expressing the desire to actually know a person featured in a photograph—especially this woman

These are two of our most popular photographs:
One of our most popular images on Flickr

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    Jessica Johnston is an Assistant Curator in the Department of Photographs at George Eastman House. She manages numerous exhibitions and projects at the museum including our recent participation on the Flickr Commons.

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