Flickr is celebrating 20th birthday. Feeling old yet?
Can you believe Flickr is already 20 years old? But other than cutting a cake at the HQ, the beloved photography platform has gifts for you. They include discounts, photowalks, themed galleries, photo contests, and more. And the celebration will last all year long!
[Related Reading: Here are the cameras that shot Flickr’s best images]
Celebrate good times, come on!
For starters, Flickr has prepared all sorts of birthday deals and perks. An exclusive Pro membership discount is coming to your inbox, and Pros will get a brand new perk soon. Launching February 1, 2024, Flickr is also holding a photo contest that invites community members to submit pictures that best represent the Flickr colors—pink and blue.
As part of the celebration, Flickr is organizing a San Francisco Bay Area photowalk on February 24, 2024. This is a great way to connect with your fellow photography enthusiasts and Flickr members. You’ll also find a list of the other US and Europe Photowalk locations for February 2024 here. If you want to join or host a photowalk of your own, you can join the Flickr Worldwide Photowalks group and look for your city or region. If there isn’t already an event set up for it, start your own!
Throughout the whole year, the Flickr blog and social media channels will be filled with fascinating and captivating content such as member stories, interesting facts, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and a series of timelines and visual galleries showcasing Flickr’s milestones throughout the last 20 years. Speaking of which, let’s learn more about what Flickr’s been through over the past 20 years.
The 20 years of Flickr
Flickr was launched in February 2004 by Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake at the O’Reilly Emerging Tech conference in San Diego as a platform for sharing photos. Initially conceived as part of a multiplayer online game, Flickr quickly gained popularity during a time when digital cameras were becoming common, and phone cameras were just emerging.
By August 2004, Flickr truly took off. it introduced features like tags, photostreams, comments, faves, and groups, setting the stage for its rapid growth in the social media landscape. In March 2005, Yahoo acquired Flickr, providing the necessary scaling and infrastructure for its expanding community, which surpassed two billion photos by 2007.
In 2007, Flickr added seven new languages and introduced geotagging, allowing users to map their photos. In January 2008, the Commons program launched with the Library of Congress, followed by the release of Flickr’s first iPhone app in September 2009.
A few tough years came for Flickr. But thankfully, SmugMug acquired it in 2018, preventing its potential closure and ushering in a new era focused on photography and community. The transition continued in March 2019 when Flickr finally ditched the mandatory Yahoo account requirement, welcoming new photographers. They also limited Free users to 1,000 uploads, dividing the audience between those praising the move, and those who disliked it. Still, I have a feeling that there are more of the former ones.
In 2019, Flickr introduced Prints and new Pro features, including higher image resolution and mobile Pro stats tracking. We ordered a bunch of prints back then to test them out, and you can read more about it here. Subsequent updates in July 2020 enhanced Explore and content curation. In August 2021, a new Notifications Center was launched, offering users more control over updates and introducing a mobile widget.
Flickr’s commitment to preservation led to the founding of the Flickr Foundation in December 2022, dedicated to safeguarding its extensive photo collection. In November and December 2023, Flickr expanded Pro stats visibility and achieved certifications for sustainability and climate neutrality.
Out of these 20 years, I’ve been on Flickr for 15. I’ve been around through its (and mine) highs and lows, even though I was considering closing my account when things really went south. However, I still haven’t found a decent alternative to Flickr or a photo-sharing platform I like better. I’m still on Flickr (come say hi), and I’ll probably stay as long as they don’t have Reels, Stories, influencers, and stuff like that – just photography and photo community. For me, Flickr is still relevant, and I’m happy to see it stay around for two decades. Happy birthday, Flickr!
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.