CASE STUDY: Newts, an 1985 Argos catologue and more cool ways to use Flickr

Someone once said that there are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.

Very true. Same could be said of Flickr.

Here’s seven  good ideas on Flickr that’s fired my imagination.

Flickr to celebrate a season

Yes, you can set-up a Flickr group for an area if there isn’t already one.
But how about this? A group to celebrate the changing seasons of a borough.

Dudley Council have done just that with Winter Photos of Dudley and its partner Spring Photos of Dudley.

Both are themed around the seasons and the figures themselves are quite impressive. Spring had 80 images from 80 people within three weeks of it being launched. Winter 450 from 170.

Flickr as an image library

At less than £20 a year for a Pro account, it’s staggeringly good value for money.

It can also be used as a repository for images both with a public setting and a restricted private one which limits who in your network can see them.

With a liberal re-use licence residents, media and blogs can re-use images without you having to take a phone call, dig out shots and email.

The UK Home Office are the Daddy of this.

With 390,000 page views in 10 months those are serious figures.

They post stock images and shots connected to press stories, like the pictures that show a till receipt for two rings shortly before a sham wedding. Brilliant.

Flickr as a way to celebrate

Dawn O’Brien from Wolverhampton Council is an unsung hero. Using JFDI (just flipping do it) she has done great things to celebrate parks.

ThisFlickr group We ♥ Wolverhampton: What’s your favourite place in the city? captures images that show people’s favourite places in the Midlands city.

Flickr as a way to record nature

Morgan Bowers from Walsall Council’s countryside team is doing some really great things with digital tools. Not least the group Walsall Wildlife Recorders which aims to capture images of newts and other interesting things snapped by members of the public.

The Walsall Leather Museum Flickr meet

Acting at the suggestion of a Walsall Flickr group member, the very generous Francesca Cox allowed open access to the museum on Saturday.

It’s a fabulous place and a celebration of the town’s most famous trade.
Scores of good images emerged and several photographers generously allowed shots to be re-used for marketing.

Flickr as a way to supply user generated content

English Heritage have hundreds of buildings, burial places, landmarks and other sites to look after. Bright people there have twigged that people like taking pictures of them. They link from their website to images contributed to their Flickr group set up partly for that purpose. Everyone wins in that.

An unexpected spin-off. Social bunch they are they’ve created a Flickr group for those people. Even better than that, they ask that if people post to that group it means they don’t mind seeing the images on their website and a link from that site to the original image. It’s a great way of tapping into Flickr in a way that everyone benefits from.

The Asda catologue from 1985

Okay, so this isn’t local government. But you have to simply doff your cap to someone who scans the entire Argos catalogue from a quarter of a century ago.

Clunky boombox? We got them. Pocket calculators? That’ll be £4.99, please with more than 9,000 views of that one page alone.

Inspired genius. Or the work of a twisted loner. Can’t make up my mind which.

But it shows the single minded passion some people have.


Join the Conversation


  1. Another good read, Dan.
    I smiled at your mention of English Heritage’s use of Flickr. Many, many years ago, within a few weeks or months of starting work in a then very new English Heritage, I went to rummage in the Picture Library. I just needed a photo of a specific site to send to a company with a request for some sponsorship money. The best photo they had was a 1960s slide that was beginning to look as worn as the medieval architecture it recorded. From that time on, I took photographs of ‘my’ monuments (EH guardianship sites in the North of England) whenever I went on site visits, just so we had some up-to-date visual reference material for our everyday work. They weren’t great photos, and certainly were not ‘picture postcard’ views, but showed things we found useful, such as the visual impact of signage, or the outbuilding that we were considering converting into visitor facilities.
    For some years, I’ve been trying to encourage people to add seasons to text with photos in collections. It helps in finding pictures and for those without relevant exif data, it could help researchers. A picture of a park in winter is very different to the same view in summer. Lots of photo over many years could show environmental changes eg effects of Clean Air Act, or removing lead from petrol.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: