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flickr1 Seasonal Flickr color cycle

This visualization of the way colors in Flickr images change over the course of the year was created by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg of IBM’s Visual Communication Lab. It’s called “Flickr Flow.”

The two of us see the world as a stream of color, and in 2009 we finally had a chance to draw the river in our heads. 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 [above] is an early sketch from the piece. Summer is at the top, with time proceeding clockwise.

The finished infographic, complete with seasonal labels and callouts of representative images, appeared in the Metric section of Boston magazine in March of 2009. You can view a low-res version of it here.

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


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