Fisheye Potatohead


I have been a flickr user for going on a decade. Early in my photography career participating in the site gave me both inspiration and community, alongside a place to share my photos. These day, it’s a little less of that, in part because the internet is bigger place now, in part because flickr–under Yahoo’s stewardship–hasn’t evolved as well as one would hope.

Like any other social media, it’s kind of fascinating to observe what becomes popular. One obvious cause of popularity is sociability. That is, photographers who participate a lot are more likely to have their photographs seen, and then shared and favorited. Either that, or post naked pictures. I generally haven’t done too much of the former, and none of the latter.

Yet, a few of my photographs over time have generated what I think is quite a few views. Also, generally speaking, these are not necessarily the photos that I would pick out as my best or more interesting.

My most popular photo has over 191,000 views in six years. For some that would be a drop in the bucket. I happen to think it’s a sizable audience. In fact, that’s 183,561 more than my 2nd most popular photo.

Despite it’s popularity, it’s not a particularly impressive photo. It’s just kind of a throwaway snapshot of some semi-clever street art.

I’m also kind of mystified by the popularity of that photo in 2nd place. I think it’s actually a better photo, aesthetically speaking. It’s shot on film using a fisheye lens, and so there’s a novelty element to it, too. But, again, I wouldn’t pick it as my best. Though every day at least a few people take a look at it.

While I do share my photos in the hope that others might enjoy them, I don’t particularly go out of my way to shoot photos that I think will be popular, nor do I try to draw attention. (And, if you look at my Google Analytics for this site, you’ll know that posting about them here certainly won’t bring in much more attention either). But I do enjoy seeing what hits and what doesn’t.

Of course, these days that experiment would probably be better run on Instagram. But moving to that service is more work than I’m up for.

Instead, I’ll just ponder the mystery.