I bought my first camera in winter of 2006, a Canon EOS 400D, which open a new era of my life. I began going to school or anywhere else with my camera in my bag everyday.
At first, I uploaded all of my photos to Wretch (www.wretch.cc), which was a popular social media in Taiwan since around 2004. Wretch was the first personal website in Taiwan that combine blog, photo album, guestbook all together in one site.
Later on, around summer of 2007, a friend of mine in college introduced Flickr to me. At the first glance, I was not fascinated by Flickr. And by then I was not used to the concepts of “tags”. I spent some time trying to get familiar with Flickr, then I fell in love with it and could never get out of it. After one month, I bought the pro account and have been paying for the annual premium fee until now.
I moved all of my photos from wretch.cc to Flickr. I enjoyed managing my photos by catergorizing them into different albums and adding tags. I often imagined what visitors might think when they visit my Flickr site. It might be somewhat similar to the concept of “curation”, which is popular in recent days as many Pinterest-like websites showed up.
I also enjoyed browsing through photos uploaded by people from all over the world. I followed(adding “contacts”) many people on Flickr from different countries. Besides being amazed by the awesome framing, exposure, and instant of releasing the shutter, I found this to be a way to know more about the world. I saw many images of the places of my motherland and even more of the world that I had not had chances to explore. All of the photos ran into my eyes became a sort of ingredient of inspiration. That was also a motivation for me to get to realize more of the place where I was living at.
Afterwards, I became crazy using tags in order to make my photos more organized. I found that I can give as many tags as I want to a specific photo. For example, if I take two photos at the harbor at dusk, one with splendid colors of clouds and one with dark sky after the sunset. Firstly I would tag both photo with “sunset”, “sky”, “harbor”, and the name of the harbor. Afterwards, I would tag the first one with “light”, and the second one with “dark”. By describing each photo precisely with tags, I can easily find out exactly the photos I want without going through the albums page by page.
After posting photos and sharing them to some groups, some Flickr users over the world favorited my photos and left comments from time to time. That was no big deal but indeed encouraged me a lot. Looking back on my behavior at the time, frankly speaking, maybe I was sort of lost in the numbers of favorites and comments. I then began sharing photos to as many groups as possible and wait for any feedback from people I did not know in the real world. I had been repeating such behavior for more than one year.
However, I didn’t fully indulged myself in the virtual world of Internet. Through the comments and discussions on photos, I made some friends on Flickr. However, those “friends” were actually IDs on my computer screen. Something magical happened after two years since I signed up for Flickr. There were some times when I took a walk near my college, took shots at scenery spots, or bought films at camera store store, I happened to recognize that the person standing besides me was the “ID” that I had once seen on Flickr. After saying hi to each other, for most of the times we could soon come up with his or her ID, avatar, and style of photos right away. And some of them became my friends in real life.
After finishing the military and began to work, I had fewer time to take photos as before, so as to use Flickr. I cannot spent much time watching photos of my contacts everyday. The hundreds of thousands of photos that showed up in front of my eyes faded away quickly, but in other way, they broaden my vision and provided me with different aspects of thought when taking photos or simply watch this world.
Now I login to Flickr maybe only a few times per week, but I will keep paying the premium fee for pro account until this website disappears. To me, flickr is now my portfolio of my photography works in which everyone can view my different style of photos during each period of my life. In the world of internet, nothing lasts forever. The websites, browsers, IMs or social medium which were once popular could never assure a everlasting success. However, I sincerely hope that Yahoo could run the company well and never let Flickr disappear.