I've done it - achieved one million viewings on the photo-hosting website Flickr. I was in Brighton last night, having a meal with friends at the China Garden restaurant, when, on a hunch, I got this up on my phone. This was the screenshot I recorded, to capture the transient moment:
The viewings total had been 300 short of a million a few hours before. Now another 1,500 people had taken a look.
Of course I'm pleased. Although it's taken nearly seven years to reach that magic million, the total was only 100,000 three years ago. Here's a shot taken on 16 November 2012, showing 100,004 viewings:
And even a year ago - thirteen months, to be more exact - the viewing total was only 500,000. Here's a shot taken on 10 October 2014, showing 512,019 viewings:
So I've garnered another 500,000 viewings over the last year or so.
Where does this get me? Well, nowhere in particular! It would have been nice if I'd had a penny for every viewing (a pound would have been even nicer!) but that didn't happen. I don't take it as evidence that I'm a Great Photographer. Most likely I've taken some 'different-from-the-usual' shots now and then, and people keep hitting on those. Or maybe it's simply that if you publish an awful lot of photos - and I've published 13,500 - you eventually become a big target for any searches made, and you get 'known'. Rather like having a lot of Premium Bonds makes a regular win much more likely.
Am I one of Flickr's 'most popular' stars? Surely not. But I may be well up the league table for the 'most prolific' of their account holders. So far as I know, Flickr doesn't make available any such tables, showing who has accumulated the most viewings, or has at least published the most shots. But supposing they did, it wouldn't be interesting unless I were somehow among the 'top 500' in the world in one or other category. It would, for instance, be a rather ho-hum accolade to be confirmed the 2,704,388th 'most popular', or the 693,702nd 'most prolific'!
I will say, however, that the viewings total does encourage me to go on publishing, and see how far I can push the total up to. One friend asked me whether I would now aim for 2,000,000 viewings. I said yes. But not as the main reason for taking photos. I do that for the sheer excitement of it, because gets me out to see places I might otherwise not bother with. You do need an incentive to go far out of your way - and the prospect of a few good shots definitely spurs you on to make that effort.
I think photography is a fabulous antidote to laziness and inertia.