Self-Hosted Image Gallery Recommendations?

A lazyweb question: Is there decently modern web image gallery software anywhere?

I’d like to move away from Flickr in favor of self-hosting my photo galleries. But so far all the packages I’ve found are…well, they tend to look and feel (both on the backend admin side and the frontend public gallery side) like they haven’t been updated in the past decade or more.

Admittedly, sometimes this is because that’s exactly the case…which also doesn’t make me want to download them. But sometimes they’re still apparently under active development, but still look and feel like early-2000s projects.

Software I’ve installed, poked at, thought “mmm…well…maybe…”, and looked on to see what else I could find:

  • Piwigo is under active development (last release three weeks ago) but has rather sparse documentation if you’re not a developer building plugins, and needs config file editing just to display more than the most basic image metadata.
  • Zenphoto is also under active development (last release a month ago), but appears to be gearing for a more major update…which could be good, but there’s no indication of when that will happen, and much of the current installation (like every one of the default themes) has a “this has been deprecated” warning. So it doesn’t seem worth investing time into getting it up and running and populated if the current version is soon to be end-of-lifed, with who knows what sort of compatibility with the next version.

Things I’ve looked at but not downloaded:

  • 4Images may or may not be under active development; the last update was in November of ’21.
  • Coppermine‘s last update was in 2018…but the two before that were in 2013 and 2010, so who knows if it’s still active or not.
  • Gallery at least admits it’s dead; it points to Gallery Revival, which hasn’t been updated since November of ’21.
  • Pixelpost: “tldr: This project is abandoned, and has known security issues, use at your own risk.”
  • TinyWebGallery: I can’t quickly figure out when it was last updated, but the header graphic advertises “Flash uploaders”, and there are too many ads for online casinos on that page for me to bother digging around any further.

I’d like to stop giving Flickr money (I have nothing particularly against them, but at this point, I have nothing particularly for them either; their website doesn’t “give me joy”, and when embedding photos, the alt text is just the image title, not even the image comments, let alone any option to add true alt text), and I simply don’t trust Google enough to drop all my images into their systems. I’ve played with SmugMug as well, but again, I’d like to be able to self-host, not pay.

I’m a little surprised that this is such a sparse field, but I suppose that Flickr and Google Photos are “good enough” for most people these days, so there’s not a big market for people like me: a tech-savvy hobbyist photographer who’s not particularly interested in relentlessly pursuing monetization.

Recommendations would be appreciated if I’ve missed something worth investigating. As it is right now, though, I’m guessing my best bet will be to see what I can manage with either Piwigo or ZenPhoto.

Museum of Flight

Picked up my “real” camera (Nikon D750, as opposed to my iPhone) for the first time in something over three years today…funny how a pandemic-induced lockdown can affect your hobbies, isn’t it?

We went out to the Museum of Flight, which we hadn’t been to for at least 15 years, had a nice day wandering around, looking at all the neat airplanes and space stuff, and I started getting used to the camera again. Felt good!

A few shots here, and more in an album on Flickr.

Museum of Flight: Toy UFO

Museum of Flight: Lunar Rover

Museum of Flight: Amelia Earhart

Museum of Flight: Space Shuttle Trainer

Museum of Flight: D.B. Cooper

Linkdump for May 13th through May 25th

Sometime between May 13th and May 25th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • George Takei Accuser Scott Brunton Changed His Story of Drugs, Assault: “A fabricated coffee meeting. Key facts withheld or walked back. A ‘great party story’ about a sexual assault—which the accuser now says may not have actually happened. What happens when an activist’s legacy is tarnished by the story of an old friend who later says it could have all been a misunderstanding? And how do we process such an anomaly in an era of overdue social justice?l
  • when i say ‘don’t make jokes about rednecks and hillbillies’, that doesn’t mean i think you’re being racist against white people: “i say that because you are perpetuating extremely toxic rhetoric about our region, you are promoting stigma, you are encouraging blatant classism, and you are furthering the idea that we somehow ‘deserve’ it because our elected officials vote republican. it’s not cute. stop acting like none of us have the right to call you out on your classist bullshit.“
  • Dear NRA, It’s Time to Take Away Everyone’s Gun: “I’m finished trying to reason with you. So now I, a guy who was ambivalent about guns just a few years ago, want to take your guns away. All of them. I want to take them all and melt them down and shape them into a giant sphere and then push it at you so you have to run away from it like Indiana Jones for the rest of your lives. I want Ted Nugent to roam the halls of his gunless house, sighing wearily until he dies. I want to end this thing once and for all, so that all of you who have prioritized the sale of guns over the lives of children have to sit quietly and think about what you’ve done. God help me, I want to take all of your guns out of your hands, by myself, right now.”
  • The respect of personhood vs the respect of authority: "In April 2015, Autistic Abby wrote on their Tumblr about how people mistakenly conflate two distinct definitions of 'respect' when relating to and communicating with others. This is an amazing & astute observation and applies readily to many aspects of our current political moment."
  • How the 50-mm Camera Lens Became ‘Normal’: “The idea that a 50-mm best approximates human sight has more to do with the early history of lens production than any essential optical correspondence between the lens and the eye.”


I did some housekeeping on my Flickr account and severely culled my contacts–from somewhere over 250 to slightly under 90. Pretty much got rid of anyone I didn’t actually know (mostly kept people that I know in the real world, though a few more-than-passing-internet-acquaintances made it through as well). This does mean that I won’t be seeing some really good photos from some really good photographers that I don’t know, and may see more average-to-good photos from people I do know, but that seemed an acceptable tradeoff. I had a number of years of connecting to as many people as possible for the slightest of reasons…now I’m at a point where I’d like there to be some amount of more real connection. That doesn’t necessarily mean I have to have met them in meatspace, but I should have at least had enough contact that I have a vague idea of who the are. There were a lot of people on that list that I didn’t recognize at all, and those were quite easy to cull.

A little housekeeping every now and then is a good thing.

Almost Time for Norwescon!

Once again, it’s about time for my annual mini-vacation at Norwescon. This is my second year as part of the ConCom (_Con_vention _Com_mittee — those of us who are crazy enough to volunteer to assist with planning and running the con), and I’ve really been enjoying it.

While for the first year, I had one official position as photographer and one unofficial position as “the guy who knows about Twitter,” this year I’ve had two official positions. I’m no longer simply “Photographer,” but “Lead Photographer,” complete with a staff of two minions assistant photographers (so I don’t have to make another attempt at shooting an entire four-day convention on my own); I’m also the “Information Network Manager”…which is kind of a fancy way of saying “the guy who knows about Twitter” again, but also encompasses handling Facebook updates and occasional website posts.

While the photographer position will be a lot of fun at the con, it’s so focused on the four days of the con itself that most of the lead-up time has been wearing my “Information Network Manager” hat. I’ve really been having fun being the primary Social Media guy for the convention for the past year, and I’m hoping that I get to keep this position for the next year (or two, or three, or…etc.).

(A quick note: While the next few paragraphs concentrate primarily on Twitter, the same basic ideology works for Facebook as well, and I have our Twitter and Facebook accounts connected so that posts to one appear on the other.)

I’ve found myself quite interested over the past couple years with the growing utilization of social media by companies and organizations as a way to create more personalized interactions with their customers and fans. I’ve had some good personal experiences with this kind of thing, when I’ve tossed out random comments on Twitter that have then been noticed and responded to by the companies in question, and I’ve really come to value the perceived personal touch that results. When companies take the time to actually interact with their followers, instead of seeing Twitter solely as another one-way broadcast medium, it makes a huge difference in how the company is perceived by the customer. It only takes a few moments, and suddenly the “little guy” doesn’t feel so little anymore — rather, there’s a real person somewhere behind the corporate logo that’s actually making a connection.

I’ve done my best over the past year or so to ensure that Norwescon’s social media presence is an interactive one. I watch Twitter and the web at large closely for any mention of Norwescon, using saved Twitter and Google keyword searches, and whenever appropriate, I try to answer any questions or concerns that I find. If I can’t provide an answer myself, I pass the question or comment on to the appropriate department. I’ll reply to people on Twitter, even if they’re just mentioning Norwescon in passing (as long as it’s appropriate to do so, of course) — not only does this let them know that they can contact the con directly, but it also helps to let more people know that Norwescon has a Twitter account. Over the past month, I’ve been watching for artists, authors, and pros announcing their schedules on Twitter and retweeting those announcements.

Basically, I’ve been running the Norwescon Twitter account like I prefer other official Twitter accounts to be run — and hopefully, I’ve been doing a decent job of it. Anecdotal evidence seems to say that I am, but it’s always hard to be sure when looking out from the inside.

I’ve also been enjoying prepping the photography side of things. Having a couple minions is going to be incredibly helpful this year (and thank you very much to Philip and Graves for volunteering to be part of the photography department!). Having three roving cameras will allow for better coverage of the convention while also allowing each of us to get some much-needed downtime and off-duty time where we can just do our own thing for a while. I think I’ve pretty much prepped most of what needs to be prepped, with only a few outlying pieces that need some last-minute followup before next weekend.

One personal triumph was creating public photography guidelines. This is one area that has often been a mild frustration for me, as an aspiring amateur photographer — when going to an event, what’s allowed? Are there any restrictions on my camera equipment, or various particular events? I didn’t want that to be an issue, and while perhaps I could have gotten this posted earlier, at least I got it up, and it will serve as a good template for years to come as well.

So that’s been a lot of my non-school-related work over the past few months. I’ve been enjoying it, so far the feedback I’ve been getting has been very complimentary, and I’m really looking forward to running around with my “nerd friends” (as Prairie likes to call them) next weekend. I should be arriving at the hotel by noon-ish on Thursday, am rooming with a couple friends again, and will be there until early afternoon on Sunday, when I’ll be leaving early enough to make sure I’m back home to Prairie in time for Easter dinner. Should be a good weekend, and hopefully I’ll see a few of you there!


A fun new piece of photo editing/post-processing software was just released yesterday evening. One of the features that’s become very popular in many of the iPhone photo apps like Camera+ or Instamatic is the easy ability to apply post-processing filters and special effects. Often designed to mimic the analog effects of toy plastic cameras, old film, faded prints, and other imperfections, these filters have become a popular way to add an artistic touch to digital photos.

However, such effects haven’t been that easy to mimic in desktop apps — not impossible, but not one-click simple, and that’s where Flare comes in.

Satyr Dance

Flare makes adding these kinds of retro effects to any photo incredibly simple: just drag a photo into the window, choose a filter to apply, and export the finished photo to email, a new file, or Flickr. Flare comes with 24 filter presets, and has a small selection (which will apparently be expanded over time) of extra presets that can be downloaded and added to the lineup.

i love you (again)

Not content with that, though, each preset is completely editable. The presets are created by mixing together and adjusting combinations of color, texture, border, and effect, and each preset can be adjusted to tweak the final output, or new combinations can be built from scratch. Once the final look is chosen, the settings can be saved as new presets for use on other photos later on. Presets can even be exported from Flare and shared with others (here’s a sample of that effect).


This is a 1.0 release, and while I’ve been enjoying playing with Flare and haven’t run across any bugs, there are some things that I’d love to see in future releases. At the top of my list is image importing: At the moment, the only way to bring an image in to Flare is either a standard “open file” dialog or by drag-and-drop. While this is great for initial simplicity, I tend not to have image files lying around in directories. Rather, they’re all stored in iPhoto or Aperture libraries. While dragging from another program is easy enough, that requires me to have both applications open and taking up screen space. Integrating the standard Mac OS iPhoto/Aperture image browser would make selecting photos to work with much easier.

Update: Thanks to @talosman for pointing out that Mac OS X already has image library support built directly into the “open file” dialog. Just select “Media” from the left hand sidebar, and your iPhoto and Aperture libraries pop right up. Slick! Funny how features like this can easily go overlooked, I’d never stumbled across that before.

I’d also love it if Flare could be more tightly integrated into Aperture. Right now, Flare doesn’t work as an external editor for Aperture (when saving a file after making adjustments, Flare writes to a new file rather than to the file that Aperture created, so the changes don’t get pushed back to Aperture) — and even if it did, I prefer having Aperture tied to the more full-featured Photoshop as an external editor. As Flare is essentially a one-trick pony (admittedly, a very well-trained pony), I’d love to see it available as an Aperture plugin. Happily, there are hints that this is something that may be coming in the future.

Flying High

All in all, I’m really impressed with Flare, and had a lot of fun playing with it and exploring different filters and combinations of effects. Flare is $20, and is on sale for half off ($10) for its first week (until March 18th) if bought through the Mac App Store. It’s definitely worth checking out.