I hadn't heard, but flickr hasn't been doing good lately and they are trying to get back in the game. Today they rolled out a new look and huge incentive to be a free member.
If you haven't seen in yet, you can let me know what you think. Here's my photostream, the default view, here are the sets, and the collections, which I would prefer to have front and center, are still shortchanged and hidden, never to be seen by anyone unless you follow a link from here (go on, see if you find the collections starting on the photostream).
I have a flickr account for one because in order to justify my miniatures projects to myself I need to see them organized well all in one public place. For two I want a more robust backend than blogger and Picasa offer. I had a go at hosting my own galleries with Gallery2 and a lesser known one (but far superior feature-wise) called Piwigo, but I found the development and upkeep not worth it, and I found an isolated gallery or one tied only to a blog a real limitation in terms of social networking. Flickr also integrates beautifully with Lightroom, which is what I use to organize and process the pics. More about Lightroom in another post, and you can bet it will be more enthusiastic than this one.
But as for Flickr I've never had much enthusiasm for it. It has some features that make sharing pictures of miniatures difficult, chiefly the inability to control which size image a viewer sees, which means I can't use it to store full size images unless I want the user experience viewing my pics in the native interface to completely suck. Other things like that. However, I never encountered any deal killers, and all the other options had at least one of those. So I've been paying $25 a year for a few years now and I guess it's been worth it.
After that stellar review, though, I still need to ask any miniatures painters without flickr galleries, shouldn't you have one, if not before, now? I see so many awesome blogs where you see the figures roll by, but don't you ever feel the pressing need to see all your work so far summed up in galleries, laid out so fellow painters can get a sense of you? And and more than that, does your collection even exist if it's not collected anywhere?
While I don't love flickr I still think it's the best option we have, and now that it's free I'm hoping that will mean I get some contact adds from some painters and we'll give it another shot. Despite my gripes all the changes they rolled out seem to be for the better. You get 1TB free storage now which should be all your figs from now till you die. Galleries look prettier than ever. See my Redemptionists in a fresh light or the orcs, some adventurers or their foes.
I wont' get into the bugs in the new design, like how the set descriptions are chopped off so I'm not even allowed to communicate those few words I put in the description to people, or how characters like the ampersand and quotes seemed to have got encoded during a data migration to the new platform and are showing up raw, or the metadata I painstakingly research for each and every figure is below the fold, and you wouldn't have seen it unless you read this far and are now going back to check.
At any rate, I won't put faith in the notion that this will make the flickr experience "awesome" as Yahoo is hoping for, but maybe a few of you will be inclined to give it a shot and realize like I have that it's got a lot of potential despite the flaws. Also curious in general about your thoughts on having a gallery experience vs blogger, whether you use or have considered another backend for your pics besides the default, etc.