Only about 1 in 17,000 photos posted on a given day is chosen by the flickr team for Explore, but I don’t think it’s a particularly good photo – just a snap I took yesterday of a rather surreal sight.
I mainly use flickr as a research tool, looking at how a proposed location or theme has been previously photographed, and also to keep in contact with other photographers whose work I enjoy.
I also post pictures to get an idea of what my followers think and gauge them by the number of times a photo has been favourited rather than the number of views.
In fact Hello Sailor will be deleted from my flickr account for failing my rather random ‘minimum 1 favourite per 30 views’ threshold.
I think popularity on flickr is skewed by 2 factors: the HUGE volume of photos being posted and the breadth of its audience. To stand out from the mass, images tend to need a strong and immediate visual impact, e.g. with strong contrasting colours or powerful diagonals.
Other reliable keys to popularity seem to be:
a) Attractive women
b) Naked women, not necessarily attractive
c) Cute children
d) Furry/fluffy animals
e) Cute baby fluffy animals
f) Overcooked landscapes (milky waterfalls, showers of stars, improbably saturated sunsets…)
or that old stalwart
No one’s ever gone bust underestimating public taste – as, for example, a glance at the TV ratings demonstrates – so you have to be the ultimate arbiter of whether your work is any good or not.
In this age of attention deficit I still prefer more subtle, complex images that would reward repeat viewing if hung on your wall.
And plenty of great original photographers and artists couldn’t sell, publish or even give away their work at times (e.g. Van Gogh, William Klein, Saul Leiter).
I wonder how they would have fared if they had first posted their work on flickr.
I suspect they would have sunk without a trace under the daily tsunami of tastelessness and blandness.