Remember when Flickr used to be the elite hang out of the visual digerati? By initially embracing talented photographers, Flickr developed a reputation as the place to go to check out amazing amateur and professional photography on the web. But then Yahoo! came along and encouraged users of its Photos service to migrate to Flickr, opening the site up to anyone and their vacation pictures. Has Flickr become boring and mundane? Where should we turn to now to find all the cool photos?
Flickr is still a great photo hosting platform used by a large number of amazing photographers, but cutting through the increased noise can be a chore. The six sites below will help you locate the more artistic photos out there on the web without having to wade through any photos of Aunt Millie at the beach. (NSFW warning: Some of the sites mentioned below do not censor out artistic nude photos -- as such, there may be unsafe for work content displayed on the main page.)
Pixrat is another social bookmarking site specifically design for photographs. The India-based site lets users tag photos and organize them into albums. Users can also comment on photos or leave notes, as well as vote for photos using an up/down, Reddit-style voting system.
FreshPhotograph is a daily photo blog from the FreshArrival folks. While FreshArrival -- which is one of my favorite blogs -- is about delivering a link to one cool item or product each day, the similarly spirited FreshPhotograph posts "one amazingly cool photograph, every day." The photos come from the personal sites of professional or amateur photographers or photo sharing sites like Flickr and always link back to the artist's web site. The blog is a great way to locate unknown photographic luminaries, and their taste is excellent (in my opinion).
FFFFound! is a photo bookmarking site that displays like a group photo blog. Using a bookmarklet, users add photos they like to the site as they browse the web. FFFFound! then attempts to ascertain your taste based on the kinds of things you've added to the collection, and recommends photos you might like. I generally visit FFFFound! a couple of times each week to scour for cool stuff to titillate my image receptors.
Unlike the other sites in this round up, Deviant Art Photography actually hosts photographs. DeviantArt has long been known as a place where elite digital artists like to hang out, and many of the photographers that maintain accounts there are oozing with talent. A trip through their massive photo section can quickly become addictive and I've often found myself "wasting" hours paging through the thousands of awesome pictures housed on the site.
But what about the normal social bookmarking sites like Digg and del.icio.us? Well, most of them don't have dedicated picture sections, which makes finding cool pics a hit or miss activity that isn't the easiest undertaking. Enter PicURLs, a site that aggregates the "buzziest pics" from Digg, Reddit, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Flickr, Simpy, Furl, Boing Boing, and Wired. With all that picturey goodness, you'll be kept busy for hours.
What are you favorite sites to find cool pictures? Leave your favorites in the comments below.