As a member of the press, I'm accustomed to being the token partygoer taking awkward photographs of the room. Not so much at Flickr's "24 Hours of Flickr" party in New York on Thursday night, where there were so many cameras being whipped out that you'd think it were Times Square.
"I'm stuffing my face with cake, and then I look up and someone's taking a picture of me with chocolate all over my mouth," one mildly uncomfortable attendee told me.
The event, held in a cavernous studio space in Manhattan's gallery-friendly West Chelsea neighborhood, was in celebration of the "24 Hours of Flickr" event that took place in May. The "24 Hours" initiative encouraged members of the Yahoo-owned photo sharing site to document their lives with their cameras for the entirety of May 5 and then upload them; lucky Flickrers would be featured in a commemorative book published by bookmaking start-up Blurb.com.
The compact white books were being distributed for free at the party, along with just about every kind of Flickr swag imaginable: T-shirts, stickers of multiple varieties, buttons, lens cleaners, and even desktop tripods. There was also extensive decoration in the characteristic Flickr pink-and-blue, from beach balls to balloons to projections on the wall. Flickr junkies are notoriously hardcore and have a close affinity to the site, so the swag table was well-attended.
I left after about half an hour. Sure, it was fun, but I was getting a little weirded out by the number of cameras getting poked in my face, and the fact that I'd have sounded really dumb amid all the conversation about SLRs and telephoto lenses.