First Snow: A Flickr-Generated Poem

I’m excited to announce a new Flash project I just completed called First Snow – a visualization of a poem I wrote many years ago, way way back in 2004.

Similar to the Astronaut Project, First Snow also utilizes the Flickr API. But unlike that earlier project (which was more or less me learning how to access the API), this experiment centers a lot more on timing, on rencency. It’s less about the photos people post on Flickr, and more about the most recent photos people have posted.

In animating the poem, the experiment searches Flickr using a series of random search terms (example: “snow,” “snow covered,” etc). It also specifically sorts the images it finds, based on the “date-posted” attribute, only showing the most recently posted photographs. From this list it randomly pulls in 16 images, and displays them throughout the poem.

The notion is that, as time (and Winter) progress, more and more people will see their first snowfall. And as those people post their winter and snow photographs onto Flickr, this poem should evolve alongside those photos. My hope is that this Flash experiment will keep pace, and change as the season changes.

A few technical notes:

  • Audio recorded with a Sony Minidisc Recorder.
  • Music created with a Midi keyboard my friend Justin gave me, as a birthday present.
  • Search Strings: “snow,” “snow covered,” “snow inches,” “snowfall,” “snowflake,” “snow city,” “snow chicago,” “snow street.”
  • Privacy Filter is set to Public Photos only.
  • Safe Search is set to Moderate.
  • Images returned per query: 200.
  • Images used: 16.
  • Photo License type: Creative Commons, Attribution Non-Commercial.

All photos used in this project were shared by their owners under a Creative Commons, Attribution Non-Commercial License. Under the terms of that license, I’ve linked back where I could to the original author. If you click on each image as it appears, you’ll be taken to that photgraph’s page on Flickr.

Additionally, at the end of the piece, I’ve also included each author’s name/username; these buttons also link you back to the photograph’s page on Flickr. By all means – if you see a photo you like, please pursue the links and check out the original author’s other work/photographs.

I’m also offering up the poem under a similar Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license. You can view/download the poem here. You can also visit the Creative Commons site to find out more about Creative Commons licenses, and how to share your work with others.

As you would expect – this project loads in Flickr images dynamically, and should yield a slightly different experience with each view. Each refresh should randomly trigger a different search string, as well as a random set of images within the 200 matching photos it acquires.

Again, the coolest part of this project to me is the timing aspect – the display of recently posted images, based on the date-posted attribute. As we all slowly move into Winter, I would like for this project to serve as a window of sorts – something to peer in or out of, as we see more and more snowfall.

As more snow emerges, so too should more photographs emerge. I invite you to check out the poem, and to look in over the next few days/weeks. I hope you never see the same poem twice.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. really nice felix. loved the poem. esp the last line- was i looking for, or leaving you? awesome.

    christine Reply

  2. lovely. :)

    JMe Reply

  3. Another brilliant success. Hats off to you.

    Dan Frick Reply

Leave A Reply