Sometime before I awoke this morning, I hit another milestone with photography which made me smile: twenty million (20,000,000) views total on Flickr. It’s pretty sweet, I have to say.
It’s cool to hit a million. You feel like you accomplished something. And you did! One million anything is an awesome number to reach. Five million views is great, too. And the same goes for ten million which I hazily hit over two years ago. I don’t remember hitting fifteen million but twenty million… when I realized that it was approaching, my first thought was, “One-hundred million isn’t really that absurd a number. I should aim for that.”
I’ve thought about it more, though, and it’s lazy to set that as a goal. At the current rate (especially given the increased daily view count over the past few months for which there are two simple explanations), getting one-hundred million views on my account isn’t a real challenge. It’s just a number on the horizon. A billion is a challenge and a worthwhile goal. Because in order to reach a billion, my entire game would have to change. To reach that mark, I’d have to take my work to the next level and that would mean challenging myself. And there’s personal value in that.
Pretty neat side note: the only I account I know of that has fifty million views on Flickr is NASA. I’m sure there are more. I’m certainly not the first account holder to hit the twenty million mark. But I have adequate reason to be pleased with myself for this little achievement.
But, uh… What’s the Point?
View counts and personal challenge, whoop-de-doo! But to what end? The numbers on Flickr don’t really matter by themselves. I like to view what I do with Flickr as a sort of bait-and-switch or giving people the ol’ rope-a-dope, lulling them in with a lazy left and then BAM! Hitting them with a right!
My right is a little soft, though. With Flickr, I drive traffic here (mostly) with the hope that they’ll find something that inspires them. Maybe, apart from sexiness, they were looking for hope. And maybe they’ll find it. Maybe, apart from the search for das boobies, they were hurting inside. And maybe they’ll find something here which puts them on a more positive path. Or just something to laugh at and bring a smile to their face.
I’m not narcissistic enough to think that I hold the answers to life but I’m positive and I’m hopeful for us humans. And I care about us. I like my fellow men and women. Lots. I want a better world and live my life in a way which, for the most part, positively impacts others. It’s kind of impossible for it to be any other way for me and I like that.
My oldest son’s suicide put mental illness and suicide close to my heart. But there are so many issues in this world which need addressing, some problems much more easily solved than others. Homelessness, government and class structures, power, tolerance and respect, education, energy, the food chain, our coexistence with each other and with the very planet we live on and all it its creatures… We need to take a long look at life as we know it and figure out how to actually make this a better world, not just for every single one of our sisters and brothers but for future generations. We’re a unique species in our awareness and knowledge; we can control our destiny, individually and collectively. We can make this life anything we want it to be.
When I moved to Costa Rica, I put all of the model work to the side, removing nearly everything from Flickr, my personal sites, and every site online where my work was on display. In part because I didn’t want the stigma and the judgement that often goes with it. But after being here a while, I realized some things. Mainly, for a looooong list of reasons, it’s so utterly foolish for me to dismiss that work and even more foolish to not shoot models here in Costa Rica. But also, I can’t afford to take it personally when I’m judged. It’s just negativity and I’ve got more important things to do.
So I’m going to refocus my efforts into the site. I’ve been republishing model works for months now on here and on Flickr again. And soon I’ll start shooting models again with some level of regularity. I’m going to rethink the layout of this site, linking out to the more positive, to the light, to the entertaining, to the issues that matter. To the better world. Maybe I’ll end up going back to the magazine format like I had before on an earlier version of my old site. Maybe that might work now. I have to think about these things.
You know, I came to Costa Rica with the hope of spreading some goodness, peace, and love. It’s time to do that.
So let’s go!