50 Inspirational Images From Flickr Under Creative Commons

image credit: aussiegall

Both personally and professionally, I’m a huge fan of Creative Commons.  It actually goes beyond being an advocate – I license all my art under Creative Commons and encourage other artists and creatives to do the same, at least for some of their works.  I’ve written up some of the tangible benefits before, and for it that post received coverage on Techdirt (a popular tech blog) as well as on the Creative Commons official blog.

All the great imagery I use in my blog entries is from talented people adding their works to Flickr under a Creative Commons license.  It’s all free PR for those artists taking advantage of the open nature of the system, and concurrently helps my blog content be visually appealing – it is a symbiotic relationship where everyone wins.

So yet again I’m going to demonstrate the power of CC for artists to build exposure and visibility for themselves.  How?  I’m going to showcase their work of course.  Work that you may never have been exposed to if it wasn’t in a format that was able to be shared instantly, with permission and proper attribution.

It is a huge opportunity for photographers and visual artists to use Flickr as social proofing to build a name for themselves.  Many of the images I shared with you in the last batch of 50 stunning images from Flickr under creative commons have been viewed on Flickr several hundred thousand times.  There is no denying the power of that – plus it is incalculable how many times their images have been viewed around the web since they are in an open format.

Anyone can use the power of open networks and CC to share their work in an format which puts them on a level playing field with professionals and established artists and designers.  Next, they can document the success and popularity of their works by tracking those who share/display their images, (attribution links are track-able, or sharing can be discovered simply by searching for their name) then aggregate coverage in one place to show future clients or employers the popularity of their work.  Social proofing is a strong element for an artist or designer portfolio, especially if you track numbers, placements and times shared.  Aggregate the success of your work across the web as an attractive PDF or web page with relevant numbers and samples.  Graphic design may be subjective, but it is hard to argue with data.

Tim O’Reilly sagely notes:

“Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.”

The quality of the work being published under Creative Commons speaks for itself.  While going through images that are approved for remix to use as images in posts here, I see so many inspirational images I started a folder of work that was especially moving to share.  I noticed I was well over 50 images in the folder, so I packaged them to help inspire you as well.  No theme with these other than that I thought they were remarkable:

Wind Redux

image credit: serac

Sunset Cruise

image credit: ecstaticist

Racing Stars

image credit: Andrew Stawarz

My Tree At Dusk

image credit: joiseyshowaa

Autumn is on its way !*

image credit: AmUnivers

The Runoff at Cutoff

image credit:  Stuck In Customs

Railroad Crossing (Copper)

image credit: sandman

Phoenix at dusk (HDR)

image credit: robotography

Grey skies over Matsumoto (HDR)

image credit: eugeniusD80


image credit:  hchalkley

R E S T 2

image credit:  tayseerh

Powerful Impressions

image credit:  darwishh

the green ascent

image credit:  vs

waiting for the train

image credit:  pepe

The Tree – 2nd Edition

image credit:  22281745@N04

Playa del Carmen


Il deserto dei Tartari (The desert of the Tartars)

image credit:  leosagnotti

A Hazy Spring Evening

image credit:  mdumlao98


image credit:  91499534@N00

Pac-Man Mob

image credit:  bestrated1

See Harness

image credit:  dccxlix

Q – 2:53AM

image credit:  darn

Baobab on the Planet of the Little Prince

image credit:  bestrated1

Colorful Joy

image credit:  robino

Nexus Above Erskine Lake

image credit:  drp

Take me with you

image credit:  aftab


image credit:  moertl

Colourful night

image credit:  garry61

morning after

image credit:  jurvetson


image credit:  nicholas_t

El comienzo del otoño

image credit:  hiskinho

The Message

image credit:  wtlphotos

un puente hacia el futuro

image credit:  jesuscm

Menlo Castle Infrared (Alternate)

image credit:  bhalash

Himeji gardens

image credit:  zhzheka

Fog and Sunlight

image credit:  mccain007


image credit:  erwan

Emergency Shelter

image credit:  orvaratli

and then there was light (2)

image credit:  matt_hintsa

The Vanishing

image credit:  lee mccain

Lomo Streak

image credit:  frcsyk

Specatular Santa Barbara Sunset 01/11/07

image credit:  davebluedevil


image credit:  cats-eye-view

This is NOT HDR. No postprocessing, direct capture from my D90

image credit:  torek

What to do with an overexposed shot?

image credit:  mrullmi

Perhentian Islands in HDR

image credit:  nadio

Bodiam Castle – Sussex – England

image credit:  belowred

Blue world

image credit:  lecasio

standing in Astoria looking at the sunset

image credit:  limonada

Storm gathering at Death Valley

image credit:  ozyman

Why did I create another gallery using Flickr CC images in particular?  Several reasons:

  • The community and interactions I observe on Flickr are absolutely amazing.
  • Everyone in the network really seems to support and encourage each other in creating and sharing art, a philosophy I agree with.
  • The Flickr ecosystem encourages real connections between artists, photographers and designers of all skill levels.
  • The model they use of both professional and CC works side-by-side, with CC works clearly categorized and available for easy download and attribution with a simple link encourages sharing/remixing from the blogosphere and social media.
  • Search is flexible – you can look for all levels of CC licenses including commercial use.
  • Sorting options allow you to crowdsource your search results to quickly discover content the community deems to be the highest quality.
  • Images are well tagged so you quickly discover precisely what you want.
  • No registration necessary to dig through content (more ad revenue for network owner, more exposure for artists).
  • The quality of the images in the network under CC is outstanding.
  • Flickr encourages users to publish under CC by doing things like featuring selected images on page one of Flickr.com which provides hundreds of thousands of impressions to the image  submitter.

Also a quick observation:  I know there are sites devoted to Creative Commons music, but no one has done something as accessible, useful and simple for music as what Flickr has done for visual artists and photographers to gain exposure for their works.  If you build startups, study Flickr – it’s a strong model to consider for developing a site featuring works under Creative Commons for music or really any type of digital content.

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