I was thrilled to discover on Sunday that one of my photographs had been selected for Flickr’s daily top 500 on 26 March.
I started using Flickr in December 2003 as a convenient way of sharing family photographs with relatives overseas but it wasn’t until June 2007 that I started posting pics into groups. At that time, I posted some shots I’d taken of professional tennis players in Sydney and Melbourne. In November 2008, I started to upload photographs I’d taken during a family vacation in Japan in October of the same year and that was when I really began to investigate the possibilities of Flickr.
With a little more time on my hands, I started to follow the activity on various groups around the Japan theme, and through that, I discovered and began to track a number of photographers whose work appealed to me. They are among the ones listed as Flickr Favourites on this site. They lead me, inevitably, to other photographers beyond Japan and soon I was logging on everyday to see who was posting and what they were posting.
At that stage, I was still uploading photographs from my archives but the amazing quality and diversity of the work being submitted by the photographers I was tracking soon made me realise that, if I wanted to belong to any sort of photographic community, my “holiday snaps” of Japan weren’t going to cut the mustard; so, on March 3, I departed from the Japan theme and started looking for images that might get my stuff noticed. During the next two weeks I selected what I felt were strong pics from my back catalogue but the response was lukewarm. Then, on March 17 and 18 I went for broke with two of my best (and oldest) images and a breakthrough occurred: I received comments (and commendations) from a few seriously talented photographers. But I also knew that, if I was to keep the momentum going, I’d have to create more product; so I took my cameras into the city on Friday 21 March and set to work. You can see the results on Flickr starting on 22 March (and still posting).
Earlier in this adventure, I had discovered the Explore page on Flickr and I had agonised over what one would have to do to be selected for the daily 500. You can read my thoughts on the subject in the article called “The Flickr Phenomenon” in the Photography section of this site. It seemed like a numbers game and I hadn’t built up enough of an audience to generate the numbers (of comments, favourites, invites, tags, etc.) to trigger selection. That created a dilemma for me: put my efforts into getting the numbers to be Explored; or be satisfied with the approbation of photographers whose work I admired and therefore whose opinions I valued. In the end, I decided to settle for the latter but you know, when there is a prize, it is human nature to want to win it. Imagine my surprise and elation, therefore, to discover that one of my shots had already been selected.
Sadly, the image seems to slip in and out of Explore on a daily basis. It is, after all, still a numbers game. But the fact that I made it, albeit tenuously, gives me some encouragement; and with that milestone behind me, I can concentrate on what I really value, the opinion of photographers whose own work I admire.