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My First Explored Photo

After almost 6 years on flickr, one of my photos (shown above) was finally "explored." The whole event was a little different from what I expected.

The first indication that something was up came from my phone. Y'see, I've set up my flickr account to send me an email whenever someone adds me as a contact. When the damned thing started vibrating like it was broken  in the middle of the night, I woke with surprise and curiosity. I clicked around to investigate.

I'd Been Explored

In the space of 36 hours or so, one of my photos gained more than 45,000 views and 300 favourites. I probably gained about 50 new followers too, but I stopped counting after the first few email notifications.

To put these numbers in perspective, my second most popular photo on flickr currently has about 2,500 views and 12 favourites. I went back to bed and dreamed about being mildly famous on the internet.

A Hollow Prize

While I'm grateful for the brief exposure, it all seems a bit hollow. I uploaded this quick camera phone shot just after I finished a roll of Kodak BW400CN, shot with my Nikon FE2 and Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 lens. In the shot from the camera phone, the highlights were blown so I added a brown filter, tweaked the contrast and called it a day. The effort-to-reward ratio is just too off for me to fully enjoy this.

Explore, No More

When I first joined flickr, I browsed through pages and pages of great shots on Explore. I thought about just how the photographers took these photos. I read EXIF data and tags to figure out the camera and lens combinations. When I figured it out, I sometimes tried to emulate those shots and create better photos. Having a snapshot featured in this way somewhat deflated the whole thing for me.

Don't get me wrong: there are still some great shots on Explore. But that said, my experience with the whole thing has left me with mixed feelings, a handful of new followers, and slightly disproportionate views on one particular photo.

Adam Simmons

October 18, 2014