Disclaimer: I feel I need to start this post off by mentioning that there are honestly no words for just how much I appreciate every single follow, like, favourite and comment on my work, wherever they may be. Continued support and feedback means everything to me, and helps me and cheers me up no end when I feel uninspired or unsure of myself, so a giant thank you to everyone who has helped me out in this way! This article might not be to everybody's taste but I am trying to approach this topic in the most objective way possible and let some steam off about something that's been winding me up for a while.

Today I woke up to find my most recent image upload, the levitation above, had reached Flickr Explore. For those of you unfamiliar with the idea, Flickr Explore is a list of what Flickr consider to be the most "interesting" content on the site at any given day. This is worked out by an algorithm as opposed to content being picked by staff and nobody truly knows how it picks the images, but according to a few websites out there, it's calculated by using the view count, favourites, comments and things like who in particular has viewed your images, to create a value of "interestingness" which is what I assume the images are ranked by on a day-to-day basis.

After doing a little bit of research I've found that the main criticism of Explore seems to be the images it picks out. I'll admit they're certainly not all to my taste but that's not what I wish to moan about - we all have different ideas of what we find interesting and Explore can't cater for us all unfortunately.

"It's not about photography. It turns art into a competition" - Kitty Gallannaugh

The thing that saddens me is this culture Explore has created of meaningless image feedback and competitiveness. If you google "How to get into Flickr Explore" or similar, a lot of articles will say that by commenting on images that have reached Explore, it will increase the likelihood of the owners of the images looking at your own stream, and thus increasing the interestingness of your own images. This is all very well - I really appreciate comments on my stream and will make an effort to look at the streams of people who have left feedback!

"It really gives you a lot of views, and often contacts, but often enough also those stupid automatic
'N I C E P H O T O! Check out my stream!' comments" - Noukka Signe

"I think there is an active push for people to try and game the system" - Steve Read

There's no denying the exposure it gives a person's stream, but once something reaches Explore, the meaningless comments come in. The automatic bot-driven comments with a giant picture from somebody's stream which is an advertisement for their own work as opposed to feedback left by somebody genuinely interested in the image at hand. And this is why I think Explore is one of the main reasons Flickr is going downhill. None of these people seem to care about anything other than personal gain and boosting their own views and that's not the right way to go about it.

I love looking at others work, whether it's discovering new photographers myself or by people sending me links. But don't try and disguise a blatant advertisement for your work with a comment you've not put any thought into, on a picture you don't care about. It doesn't work that way.

What are YOUR thoughts on the matter?


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