Cities all over the world are marking the Chinese New Year with feasts, festivals, and parades. Naturally, this lively, festive, and colorful holiday is a photographer’s dream – especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, which boasts the largest Chinese -American community in the United States – and the biggest parade. San Francisco-based photographer and longtime Flickr user Dave Golden has covered this event for years, and his Chinese New Year-related Flickr album is among the most popular galleries of the event on the photo-sharing site. Dave spoke with Yahoo! about photographing San Francisco’s Chinese New Year parade and how Flickr has helped him get the kind of exposure needed to boost his career.
Name: Dave Golden
Location: San Francisco
Occupation: Web Developer/ Photographer
Flickr User Since: 2005
What is your favorite thing about being a San Francisco photographer?
I enjoy walking around San Francisco and exploring and photographing the different neighborhoods. The diversity of the neighborhoods is often visible in the numerous cultural events and festivals we have throughout the year.
You have been taking photos of the city’s Chinese New Year celebration for four years now, and your Chinese New Year gallery on Flickr is very popular. What is your favorite visual aspect of this event? Why does it make for such beautiful photos?
The Chinese New Year celebration is full of color, elaborate costumes, and cultural performances, which show the richness of Chinese culture and the Bay Area’s Asian American community. The parade is one of the largest in San Francisco and one of the only evening parades in the city. Photographing an event at night can be very challenging. I seldom use flash; instead I depend on what little available light there is that I might get from streetlights and storefronts. The low light may be difficult to shoot in sometimes, but it can also result in some very unique images.
As a longtime Flickr user, what is your favorite thing about the site?
Flickr's tagging has always been one of the most useful features to me. It is my favorite way to explore photos. Most of the publication requests I receive via Flickr are from people who have located my photos online, which I don't think would be possible if not for their tags.
I also like the metadata available on the site, which is particularly useful for photographers. When I’m curious about how a photographer created a particular effect, I can check to see what camera they used and other related information. This feature has been especially useful for me and isn’t available on many other photo sharing sites.
Your Flickr stream gets thousands of views per day. Has Flickr helped your photography career?
Flickr has been a huge help to my career as a photographer. Before Flickr came along, it was much harder for me to share my photos with the public the way I do now. I have been using the site since 2005 -- before that, I had to rely on creating my own HTML photo galleries which is obviously a much more complex process that gave me less visibility than Flickr.
A number of publications look to Flickr for content, particularly for events. I have received requests from all over the world. Silverkris, Singapore Airlines’ magazine, used a photograph in their travel calendar section that I took at a festival in Nikko, Japan -- they located it on Flickr. And another magazine, Peacework, based out of Massachusetts, used a photograph I had taken in Japantown to accompany an article about activism in Okinawa. All in all, Flickr has been an indispensible tool for me in my career.
Stay tuned for more profiles of Flickr users who have benefited from the photo-sharing site. Flickr, which boasts over 6 billion photos uploaded by 70 million members worldwide, has become a staple for casual picture takers to serious photographers alike.