If every picture is worth a thousand words, Dr. Lawrence G. Miller is hoping people who love Chattanooga will contribute the equal of 100 million words in photographs.
The Erlanger hospital organizational development specialist and University of Tennessee adjunct professor recently began a group on Flickr, an image and video hosting Web site, where he is hoping photographers will upload 100,000 or more images of the Scenic City.
“The concept,” he wrote on a message board, “is to use photographs to tell the story of Chattanooga and the surrounding area.”
The group, Dr. Miller said, mixes his passion for photography with an interest in the Web 2.0 world.
“The photography part of it and the social networking part of it kind of joined together,” he said.
Since it began in early January, more than 8,400 photos of the city and its environs — in color and black and white — have been added to the group 100,000 Photographs of Chattanooga by more than 100 users.
“The quality of many of the images is fantastic,” Dr. Miller said. “This really shows off the beauty and diversity of our community. It may be the single best Web collection of Chattanooga and the surrounding area right now.”
While many of the images capture area landmarks such as the Market Street Bridge, the Tennessee Aquarium and Ruby Falls, others picture animals, flowers and people.
Dr. Miller said 100,000 photos “seems like a reach,” but he said the “Chattanooga” name in the site’s search tool brings up some 90,000 images, “so that is the parameter I used.”
He said his inspiration was the Flickr group 10 Million Photos, which now has more than 5 million images.
In starting the group, Dr. Miller said he and others often need images of places and things in Chattanooga, and Flickr would be a good place to draw from.
Photographers, he said, are allowed to designate on the site whether or not their work can be downloaded and used by someone else. Some 25 to 30 of his photos, he said, have been used on various blogs.
In addition, Dr. Miller said, the group is a good way for photographers to promote their talent and a good way to promote Chattanooga in general.
“I’ve been amazed how many really, really good photographers have gotten into this,” he said.
William Selby, a professional photographer and recent city transplant, said Web sites with photos of Chattanooga helped entice him to live here, so he wanted to help out by adding images of the area to the Flickr group.
He said he has about 30 photos in the group, and, while he feels there are too many images of fish at the Tennessee Aquarium, believes the 100,000 mark is within reach.
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “There are places I still haven’t seen.”