We first used this technique in a Boston Magazine piece, Flickr of Hope, that appeared in March 2009.

Prints are available through Imagekind.

democratizing visualization



communication interfaces

art & design



with Martin Wattenberg at hint.fm

Flickr Flow is an experiment whose materials are color and time. We began with a collection of photographs of the Boston Common taken from Flickr. Using an algorithm developed for the WIRED Anniversary visualization, our software calculated the relative proportions of different colors seen in photos taken in each month of the year, and plotted them on a wheel. The image below is an early sketch from the piece. Summer is at the top, with time proceeding clockwise.

The resulting diagram picks up the ebb and flow of seasonal colors. The close-ups below show winter, spring, summer, and fall.

The final piece appeared in the Metric section of Boston Magazine. Designer Heather Burke worked with us to give readers a more precise sense of the monthly cycle and to include some of the original Flickr photos.