A Week of Flickr Explore

I've written before about how I'm intrigued by the mysterious Flickr Explore. It is supposed to be the most "interesting" 500 images on a given day. As one peruses the daily selections, it is certainly debatable whether a photo out there is truly interesting or if, more likely than not, the variables used by Flickr's software to select a photo just happen to fall into place in the right time frame. The number of views, "faves", comments, and the frequency of these things occurring in a given time span all seem to contribute to selection for the Explore pool of images.

Once an image pops into the Explore area, attention on an image can be greatly magnified. Views of new or recent postings may skyrocket. Typically I pick up a large group of new followers. Subsequent postings to Flickr may be propelled into the Explore area, riding on the coat tails of the first selected image as new followers view and apply "fave" tags to new images. This may continue for days. In my experience, it's always a short ride. Perhaps some fairness algorithm kicks in and Flickr moves on to another lucky contestant.

As I've said before, I don't do anything special to try and get my images into Flickr Explore. It is usually a curiosity to me when images are selected. A lot of times they are things that I found interesting (hence my posting) but not necessarily special or worthy of adulation. Such is the case the past week when the string of images above were all selected for Explore. I thought it was kind of neat that these were selected because these were all black and white film shots that I took on an outing to some nearby small towns a while back. About once a month or so, I revolt against the digital revolution and run out of the house with a film camera and a couple rolls of black and white film. These shots were all taken with circa 1952 Leica IIIF fitted with a 1938 Elmar 50mm lens. Nothing automatic about this setup. Manual focus, manual exposure. Only four simple controls: aperture, shutter speed, focus, shutter button. No computers, menus, or LCD/EVF displays to get between my vision and instincts.

It felt good to have these images featured on Flickr's Explore - even if getting there probably had more to do with the algorithms of a software application than anything in particular about the images themselves. Still, the initial attention garnered from those who follow my Photostream was what triggered something in Flickr's computer brain. I guess some people can still appreciate film images in the digital age. That's a comforting thought.

My Photostream has a nice mountain size spike in activity for the previous week. Things are back to normal now. The brief bit of extra attention on my Flickr photos has ceased for the time being. Did anything change as a result? Nope. We're a distracted society. We glimpse and move on quickly to the next shiny object. The software we write behaves similarly, mimicking the minds of its creators. Popularity is fleeting and hardly worth pursuing in my opinion. I simply share what I enjoy and hopefully someone else out there finds enjoyment along with me.