Happy 5th Year Anniversary, Flickr Commons! On January 16, 2008, Flickr Commons, in partnership with the Library of Congress, was launched. Called the world's public photo collection, it's where you'll find hidden treasures in the world's pubic photography archives and where participating institutions, large and small, share photos that have all contributed to our shared history. Its two main objectives are to increase access to publicly-held photography collections and to provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge.
At launch, Flickr Commons had only 1,500 photos. Today, there are over 250,000 of them with nearly 2 million tags and over 165,000 comments. To help celebrate this momentous occasion, the Library of Congress asked Commons member institutions to send in links to a few of their most viewed, commented, or favorited images. They then created four galleries that show the "beauty, excitement, and emotion of those amazing public collections of civic institutions from around the world."
We looked through each of the four galleries (gallery 1, gallery 2, gallery 3, and gallery 4) and picked out our top 12. From a hilarious photo of a letter carrier with a baby in his mailbag to a moving and timeless autochrome portrait of a mother and her child, these were the photos Flickr members appreciated the most. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Above: Man and Child: Old man and child.
via Fylkesarkivet i Sogn og Fjordane
Uniformed Letter Carrier with Child in Mailbag: This city letter carrier posed for a humorous photograph with a young boy in his mailbag. After parcel post service was introduced in 1913, at least two children were sent by the service. With stamps attached to their clothing, the children rode with railway and city carriers to their destination. The Postmaster General quickly issued a regulation forbidding the sending of children in the mail after hearing of those examples.
Date: 1900, via Smithsonian Institution
The Eagle Nebula (M16): Peering Into the Pillars of Creation (A nearby star-forming region about 7,000 light years from Earth.): A composite image of the Eagle Nebula (M16) with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope penetrates the dark columns of gas and dust to reveal how much star formation is happening there. The Chandra data (red, green, and blue represent low, medium, and high-energy X-rays respectively) show very few X-ray sources in the so-called "Pillars of Creation" themselves. This indicates that star formation peaked in this region several million years ago.
Photo by Chandra X-ray Observatory, Date: 2001, via Smithsonian Institution
'Mother and Child: This is an autochrome - an early colour process which used a glass plate covered in microscopic, red, green and blue grains of potato starch.
Photo by Henry Essenhigh Corke (1883-1919), via National Media Museum
A possum and a movie camera 1943: A pet ring tailed possum examines department of information movie camera somewhere in north Australia and assumes the operators' stance.
via Australian War Memorial's collection