Most days of the week during the last six years, I’d spend time with flickr. I’d be uploading a photograph or two, looking at or commenting on other photographers’ work, browsing discussion groups, sometimes helping out with answers to questions in the forum dedicated to my current camera.

I’d use flickr to host discussion and photography critique groups for my photography students and landscape photography workshop guests. I’d provide “nearly ready” previews for my wedding photography clients. I’d upload photo collections that my music festival clients could link to, or use for embedding images on their websites.

I had a flickr “Pro” account, which I always thought was great value at about $25 a year.

You’ll have noticed the past tense in those last three paragraphs.

Since May 20th, I have continued to visit flickr. But not to find inspiring photography or upload images that aspire to the same. Instead, I’ve quickly scanned this now-closed-by-flickr forum and its also shutdown predecessor. On those discussion pages, a small but significant minority of flickr users complained, admonished, remonstrated, or pleaded with flickr to undo damage done with a clumsy, half-baked, unannounced redesign.

“The difference between the old and new layout is like the difference between an art gallery and a teenager’s bedroom wall.” flickr user, Aardvarklord

How many people made up this disaffected minority? A very conservative estimate would be 30,000. That’s a lot of unhappy paying customers for sure, but flickr has millions of users with free accounts, and I’d bet that the company attracted at least 100,000 new users when, alongside the redesign, it announced a new advertising-supported business model, and that all new accounts would be free and come with a stonking terabyte of storage space.

Flickr now with added “awesome”

I won’t go into detail about what was broken when they fixed up flickr. I’ll just say that in their attempt to “make it awesome” they have made it ugly, distracting, dumbed it down and facilitated much more of the same in the coming months and years. Not surprising, then, that among that vocal minority of objectors to the redesign are many “serious” amateur, semi pro and professional photographers.

All of this is why I and many others have set up a parallel or replacement presence on impernity, a photograph sharing site that, before May 20th, I’d never even heard of.

On impernity, the sea isn’t bluer and the grass isn’t greener, which is probably a good thing photographically

Because Yahoo!, flickr’s parent company, is determined to turn my old friend flickr into an advertising revenue cash cow, there is now very little hope that they’ll press a big undo button to make things photographer-friendly once more. So, if you have time, you could compare the user-experience on impernity to that of the redesigned flickr. Whether or not you have ever been active on flickr, I’d be interested to know which you prefer and why.