Three Flickr members use photography to explore and share their inner thoughts.
If Flickr proves one thing, it’s that a fine-art sensibility in photography doesn’t require formal education in the arts — or even technical training in our favorite medium. Those sharing their images on the Flickr site are as likely to be self-taught as they are to have had at least a modicum of photo instruction. How to decide whether their work is art? It’s in the eye of the beholder, of course, but the focus and dedication of the photographer are other important measures of artistic merit.
Besides showing their work on their Flickr photostreams and in Flickr’s American Photo Creative Showcase group, the three very different photographers featured on the following pages have one thing in common: a determination to make arresting images, driven by their curiosity about the world within and without. We think that shared impulse makes their work art.
Day At A Time
An Intimate look at Lisa Kimberly's yearlong photo diary
In September 2008, hardly a year after she started experimenting on her own with photography, Lisa Kimberly began a yearlong, photo-a-day documentary. Lots of photographers have undertaken this strenuous self-assignment, of course, but Kimberly’s highly graphic, surreal-yet-warm images make her project one of the best examples we’ve seen.
The self-taught photographer posted her daily images on Flickr. “If it hadn’t been for Flickr, I probably would never have started the project,” says Kimberly, a radiology technician and U.S. military wife. “It inspired me to try new techniques and photograph different types of subjects.” Kimberly’s pictures are “50 percent made in my head,” she says, and are often tweaked or highly manipulated in post-processing. “But even when I’m doing something major, like cloning images, I strive to get the image right in the camera first.”
Digital technology aside, Kimberly enjoys the process of inquiry that is part of making pictures. “I still consider myself a photographer in the traditional sense,” she explains. “I get inspired by simple things like song lyrics, a piece of clothing or the way the sun comes through my bedroom window. I started the 365-days project to keep my creative juices flowing and just sort of document my year. Pretty soon I found that I was more interested in creating images with personal meaning.”
Nowhere is this more evident than in the project’s self-portraits, a dreamy chronicle of the inner and outer life of a young woman. “I didn’t photograph myself too often at first,” says Kimberly. “But eventually I learned a way to show a version of myself that exists only in my imagination.”
Hometown: Rota, Spain
Camera: Canon EOS 400D (Digital Rebel XTi in U.S.)
Flickr member since: 2007
Flickr page: flickr.com/photos/lisak24a