Yesterday, I was struck by a comment a contact posted on my photo. Eli said:
“It is easy sometimes to take for granted just how incredibly talented you are! Such a brilliant series…it is as if you have sketched this!”
And it made me realise that I am the one who takes these things for granted. I take it so for granted people will visit the photos I post. I take it so for granted they will hit fave and comment. Ya, I get generic comments – one word comments – but I have a group of contacts who take time to say something from the heart about what I post. And when I post it is them I am thinking of. It is their comments I look for and read. And ya, I take it for granted.
I get thousands of views, hundreds of comments and faves on my photos each day and I have become so blasé about it. But it is incredible to think that what I am posting interests people. When I started out on Flickr I could not work it out. How did you get people to visit and comment? One way I saw was to post in the post 1 – comment 3 type groups. Funny thing is that they say comment – but it’s not. You just paste a logo in the comment box. And in some of these groups they police things and if you have posted 1 and not commented on 3, they contact you and warn you that this will not be tolerated, that you have to paste that (usually very ugly) logo on to 3 photos or you will be banned. I ran with those groups for a while, but the thing that got to me was seeing how ugly the stream of comments were below my photographs. I used to look enviously at the photos of others who had none of these hideous graphic logos under their photos. No, they had text comments; they had conversations going on. And even more intriguing was these people were getting their photos into Flickr’s Holy Grail – Explore!
How? Took me a while, but then I got it. Flickr – or photography in the new millennium is all about the social interaction and pasting an ugly gif and thinking you are engaging with someone is not social in any way. It is anti-photography – it is anti-social. Most people in these groups do not view the photographs they are viewing, they just rush to hit C on the keyboard (well I hope they know that keyboard shortcut!) and then ctrl+V and click comment and they repeat on the next photo until they reach the safety quota to avoid the group sweeper who will come and email to threaten with a ban. So, I stopped posting to these groups and I did a cull of my contacts. I had hundreds. A few, a very small few were regulars who came and used words instead of GIFS to comment. I kept them. And then with each post of theirs I went and commented about how I felt about the photograph, and you know what, they did the same in return. Slowly, my list of contacts grew and then out of the blue in 2009 I hit Explore! I was super-thrilled. From that my contact list grew again and I kept up the reciprocation.
Today, I have about 3,500 contacts, but I my own contact list is about 250. More than this is not manageable. Of the 3,500, I would say very few are active contacts. There is a relatively small group of people who come visit my stream on a regular basis. Views have increased enormously since Flickr changed how they record stats. Faves also. Now people can rush through a stream double clicking on an iPhone to fave or clicking on the stars under the photos if on a computer. You don’t need to open a photo up to fave, or comment. But comments have fallen in numbers since the new version of Flickr arrived. It is so easy to just click fave – hit F or double click on the iPhone.
That is why the comments mean so much. That is why last night when Eli posted that comment that it stopped me. I really should not take this community for granted. Flickr has allowed me to develop and grow as a photographer so much. It has allowed me to reveal who I am. And I am very grateful!
This relationship goes on!
Yesterday, I posted this shot of a couple making their way across the Shibuya Scramble Crossing. Today, as promised, I am posting an in-focus photograph of the pair. With that then, I will leave Shibuya for a while. Thanks to all for the great feedback on that series of images. It means so much.
Have posted lots of photographs from the Shibuya crossing in black and white but here is a colour one from there shot with the iPhone. It is a simple blur photograph of people in motion as they cross. The colour gives it a warmness and is not as harsh as the the black and white can be.
Again – thanks to all for coming here or to my Flickr accounts.