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                             FLICKR,                                          Just five years after Flickr – an image and video   ger promoter of the London Flickr group.

                                                                              hosting website launched by Canadian company          “I’ve met many fellow Flickrites in real life af-
                                                                              Ludicorp and later acquired by the US online gi-    ter meeting online first, and they offer inspira-
                                                                              ant Yahoo – was launched, it has accumulated a      tion and support on a daily basis. Without this
                                                                              huge subscriber base for both amateur and pro-      I honestly don’t think I would push myself as

                                                                              fessional photographers worldwide who upload        much as a photographer.”
                                                                              more than 3,000 images every minute.                  She has also struck up a creative friendship
                                                                                This photo storage portal now hosts more          with local photography enthusiast Therese
                                                                              than three billion images which are organised       Debono who, together with another keen snap-
                                                                              into groups by the uploaders, allowing all          per, Wil Camilleri, launched the Malta Flickr
                                                                              searchers to not just view and find photos, but     group, Flickristi, last October, “with the aim
                                                                              also comment on any image. And it is this cri-      of making contact with others who shared our
                                                                              tique that forms the backbone of the interna-       passion for our hobby”   .
                             The protagonists at the heart of local           tional Flickr community, who use the website          Although many Malta-based photographers
                                                                              to showcase their work and the comments to          had already commented online about her work,
                             photography group, Flickristi, talk creatively   constantly improve their photography.               Therese didn’t realise what a hit Flickristi
                                                                                The success of Flickr brought about an inter-     would be. “The group already has 150 members
                             to SARAH PUNTAN-GALEA about their                esting phenomenon: users in the same city, or       after just six months!” she explained, add-
                             projects… including their new fashion-with-      country, started forming groups offline, meet-
                                                                              ing up to work on joint photographic projects,
                                                                                                                                  ing that many members initially joined out of
                             a-difference series set to start this autumn,    and exhibiting their results online.
                                                                                One person was Charlotte, better known in
                                                                                                                                    “Then, after our first meeting, people started
                                                                                                                                  joining daily and emails started flooding in
                             exclusively for the Sunday Circle.               cyber space as Crusty Dolphin. Initially lured      asking about the group and its photography
                                                                              to the site to store her snaps, she is now an ea-   outings.”

62 Sunday Circle| May 2009                                                                                                                                                              May 2009 | Sunday Circle 000


 The first few outings did not need much           explained.                                           Once the mechanics were in place, Dr
organisation, “simply because it was intended        And it is the result of these fashion shoots     Gambin approached Midsea Books, a local
to ease the awkwardness between like-mind-         which will soon be appearing regularly, and        book publisher with four decades of expe-
ed strangers who would meet up somewhere           exclusively, in this magazine. Having decided      rience, and the final product will hit local
photogenic and just snap away before having        to steer clear of fashion due to the countless     bookstores this summer. It will be the first
a good old chinwag over a drink or two.” But,      amount of other magazines specialising in          publication in a not-for-profit series with
once it gained popularity and the member-          it, once the Sunday Circle saw Light’s work,       funds channelled to various causes and chari-
ship accelerated, Therese realised that more       and its alternative approach to photos, they       ties coupled to the publication’s theme.
planning was needed.                               decided to work together.                            “For the debut edition, the publisher is in
                                                                                                      discussion with Heritage Malta, through the
Seeing the fashionable photographic light          Other Flickristi projects                          Maritime Museum, to set up a conservation
  “Once we started attracting bigger numbers         One of the most interesting aspects of Flick-    fund to digitise the priceless seascape visual
we started recruiting models for our outings       risti is that it brings together people from the   documents dating back to the early days
which naturally became full-blown fashion          most diverse walks of life, from students to       of photography in Malta and making these
shoots.” This, Therese added, also opened          accountants to shop assistants to professional     available to the world through Flickr itself,”
up membership for make-up artists, stylists,       photographers.                                     Aron explained.
hairdressers… all using the local Flickr site to     “This varied patchwork of people tends             “This sees the concept go full-circle from
upload the photos from the shoot.                  to give colour to the group,” Aron happily         the virtual world, to printed world, and back
  Fellow organising member, Aron Mifsud            explained. “And one of Flickristi’s latest proj-   to digital.”
Bonnici, exclaimed that due to the amount of       ects, the publication of a book on seascapes,        All three Flickristi protagonists are buzz-
detail that now goes into organising a Flick-      is the result of such fusion of people, ideas      ing with the thrill of this project’s realisation
risti event, they can only take place every five   and experiences.”                                  and the second edition’s theme is about to be
weeks or so.                                         This book was the brainchild of marine           unveiled.
  “We have to scout and select venues, source      archaeologist, Dr Timothy Gambin, who had            “While the title is still under wraps, we can
models, discuss hair, clothing and props…          proposed the idea of putting together a book       reveal that the focus will be urban details in
This all takes time and we have to fit every-      which is a photographic tribute to the Mal-        Malta and the extraordinary ability of pho-
thing around our private and working lives.        tese shoreline and which is entirely captured      tographers to find beauty where most others
Plus, because it’s a hobby and therefore           by local Flickr members.                           don’t,” Therese said with a smile. “Which,
voluntary, every member pools towards the            “Without limiting photographers by a             after all, is Flickristi’s ultimate aim.”
group’s resources, whether it’s photo gear,        set interpretation of the concept, Flickristi        Click on:
lending of clothes, or just a mere sandwich.”      members produced a veritable assortment of         flickristi/ more information.
  The result of the past six months has led a      viewpoints that challenge the reader’s under-
number of members to launch a collabora-           standing of notions about the sea, its splen-      A word with the Flickristi administrators…
tive creative project together with stylist        dour, character, geography, temperament and
Mandy Farrugia. The project, which they            colour,” Gege added.
                                                                                                      How did you first hear about the group,
called Light (, “aims to          “And, for many of us having been used to         and why did you join?
pool our talent towards giving a refreshing        shooting fashion it was a welcome change,            Aron: “I heard about Flickristi through word
new slant to post-modernist fashion photog-        increasing the variety in our photographic                                                ,
                                                                                                      of mouth and, on my first ‘photo walk’ even
raphy,” another Flickristi pioneer, Gege Gatt,     portfolio.”                                        though we were total strangers there was an
                                                                                                                       May 2009 | Sunday Circle 65
GEGE                                           THERESE

immediate strong feeling of camaraderie and an         “I feel comforted by the fact that I know no     personal quest, so being part of a group took
obvious willingness to share knowledge and ex-       more than a tiny fraction of what there is to      a while to get accustomed to. Nonetheless,
change photography tips. It was this amity which     know about photography and this gives me           Flickristi offers another dimension to my
motivated me to commit myself and become an          endless abilities to grow as a photographer.       work that I now depend on fully – it offers a
administrator.                                       The adventure need never end.”                     cradle of ideas which constantly stimulates
  “I’ve always been a huge fan of technology           Gege: “Everything has its beauty, but not        and challenges me.”
and photography and once I started posting           everyone sees it. In that fraction of a second      Therese: “Ever since founding Flickristi, my
images on Flickr, and my work attracted the          when I take a picture I see composition and        knowledge of photography has evolved and
attention of photography enthusiasts all over        light – but more so, I see an expression of life   my thirst for more never ceases. I met a lot
the world, I became determined to increase my        itself. A creative moment which, if missed, is     of fellow photo enthusiasts and professionals
knowledge and improve my skills. Photography         gone forever.”                                     through this group and that encourages me to
has now became an even more important part             Therese: “Photography for me is not a mere       keep progressing further.
of my life thanks to Flickr.”                        hobby but a passion. It is not simply about         “Through this group I am not only learning
  Gege: “Aron and I share more than a doctor-        clicking the shutter, but it is more about a       how to be an administrator (which is a com-
ate in law and an obsession with gadgets. I          feeling I want to capture or portray, an im-       pletely new role to me) but through sharing I
joined Flickr in 2007 and when Aron contacted        age I want to achieve, a composition to work       am learning so much more. Meeting the local
me a year later we were already enthusiastically     upon. It’s never-ending really.                    Flickrites has always been fun and productive
dissecting each other’s work online. So when           “My mind never stops thinking about pho-         too. We can be as technical or as artistic as we
Therese and Wil set up Flickristi it was a natu-     tography and I somehow feel compelled to           want because we all share the same passion!”
ral virtual venue for us to commute to.”             show others how my world looks like through
  Therese: “I discovered Flickr about two years      my lens, by capturing not only an instant, but     Are you a professional photographer?
ago when, quite by chance, I saw a few photos        transmitting that instant into a feeling.            Aron: “No. I have been practicing law for
of a fellow blogger. I was hooked from the first       “I see things while I am driving and I say to    the past 11 years, mostly in commercial and
click. Even though I had no camera at the time,      myself, ‘that would make a great composi-          employment law consultancy and litigation.
I created a Flickr profile, posted comments and      tion’ or ‘the explosion of colours is awesome’.    The work environment at the law courts
made some great friends.                             Through this medium I also found a way of          is hardly conducive to any expression of
  “Initially, I started posting a few images taken   expressing myself creatively and that has also     creativity. My venture into photography
with my mobile camera, but soon enough I             helped me evolve my editing skills.”               brought me creative fulfilment and making
purchased my first SLR. Wil and I were both                                                             a living in court has suddenly become much
on Flickr when we met, so we decided to create                                                          less stressful.”
                                                     What does being part of the group bring              Gege: “I also graduated as a lawyer, but was
a local group and the rest, as is customary said,
is Flickristi history.”                              to your photographic skills, social life,          quick to move into the ICT scene. Setting
                                                     and life in general?                               up web-development firm ICON around a
Why do you love photography?                           Aron: “Photography is nothing like a             decade ago allowed me to work side-by-side
  Aron: “I love photography because it is per-       single-interest pastime. It involves travelling,   with some of the most creative geeks on the
sonal to me – it’s about being able to capture       meeting people, organising and attending           island.”
an image in the way I had it in mind, up to the      exhibitions... the social aspect of photogra-        Therese: “I have been in the architectural
most minute detail. I sometimes reflect on an        phy is as exciting to me as the creative side of   industry for the past 12 years now, first as an
image for days, often choosing to wait for just      photography.                                       apprentice, then graduating as a draughtsman
the right light or climatic conditions before I        “Flickristi is a wonderful way to socialise      after four years’ training. Working in this field
execute the idea.                                    and to learn new techniques. Plus, the fact        has helped me enhance my creative skills and
  “My photography is not about recording a           that it is online and always available allows      evolve an eye for detail which surely helps me
scene, or an event, but is often an attempt to       a welcome distraction from the mundane             even more now in my photography. I really
inspire or make a person think about a concept       events of work.”                                   find that my profession and passion comple-
or to experience a specific mood or emotion.           Gege: “I find photography to be a rather         ment one another.”
66 Sunday Circle| May 2009

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