When I was crossing Waterloo Bridge last week, I wished I had my camera (I don't even have one on my phone). The sculptor Antony Gormley has perched life-sized statues on rooftops near the Hayward Gallery (where he has a retrospective show). The effect is eerie, as they peer down from rooftops on both sides of the Thames. The figures are all casts of the same body, like those Gormley made for his installation 'Another Place' on Crosby Beach near Liverpool. For some they look like suicidal jumpers, while for others they suggest surveillance. After one sees one of them, one starts looking, and picks out more and more of them around the skyline; then suddenly there is one at ground level, right in the middle of the pavement on the bridge. That figure had people clustered around it taking pictures with big cameras, small camers, and phones. And I realised I didn't need to take a picture, because it was just the sort of picture people take: I would find plenty of them (probably better than mine would have been) on Flickr.
It's a familiar enough experience for those who use Flickr, finding photos by people you don't know that are just like the photo you took (or in my case, didn't take), only better (see this one by Buckaroo Kid, or this one by Jonny2005, or a whole group devoted to The Bronze Watchmen of Waterloo). It seems to me that it is something like the experience of blogs, because there is a pleasure in recognising an unremarkable experience that you have in common with others. Of course any tourist is aware of other people taking the same picture at Disneyland or Notre Dame, but Flickr tags mean one can find them (more than 2000 in this case), put them together, compare them, to assemble a collective experience. I think this means I will take different pictures in the future; there is no point in getting out the camera (a considerable faff) unless there is something distinctive in what I am seeing. Otherwise I might as well just give a link.
And what about blogs? Why say things that are already being said by someone somewhere else? Infact, Technorati tells me that four other bloggers have recently used the phrase 'A Flickr moment', in more or less the way I have just used it.
BTW, if you are a Flickr user, you might be interested in the group that complements the Tate Britain exhibition How We Are Now. It was interesting to contrast this profusion of digital images outside the show with the carefully curated historical collection inside.