Ever since I decided to showcase some of my favorite vacation photos online, I've been in love with Flickr. Mildly obsessed is perhaps a better description. Yes, I know I'm five years late. It's cool. I just never really had a good reason to use Flickr until I had a kickass photo collection that I wanted to share with the world. And now I do. But I like Flickr even more because it's a great place to browse the collections of photograhers who are much more talented than me. And there are many. I'm not a complete novice when it comes to taking pics, but I've still got a lot to learn, and you can learn a lot from metadata.

Anyway, yesterday I came across a photo with a lot of comments. Kind of brutal comments. Like “delete this, too processed”, “sorry, delete5”, “hate the framing, delete7”, and so on. It wasn't a bad picture at all. When did Flickr users get so critical? Turns out the photographer was part of a submission group called “Delete Me Uncensored” (occasionally NSFW) in which members savagely rate one another's photos via tags. It's extremely simple: ten “delete” tags and you're toast, but ten “save” tags and your photo goes in the Folio, or hall of fame. Whichever tag climbs to 10 first wins.

Like I said, I'm no ace photographer, but I've definitely taken a handful of what I believe are winners, and I love a good challenge. So I joined Flickr's “Delete Me Uncensored” group and submitted one of my favorite photos from Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I mean come on, who wouldn't like this picture? It's amazing (if I do say so myself, and I do).

I tried not to pay too much attention to the voting process throughout the day, but I couldn't help myself, especially once the “deletes” started coming in. Somebody said the walls were was boring. Someone else hated the framing. Another suggested that I might have submitted my photo more effectively as a “diptych”. I had to look that word up, and even then I had no idea what she was talking about. But there were a bunch of “saves” too, plus constructive comments. By 11 p.m., my photo's fate had not yet been decided. It was kind of exciting. 

This morning, I reigned victorious! But only by one vote. ONE VOTE! My amazing, amazing photo almost got the shaft? Wow. It was a little humbling to learn that not everybody thinks I'm quite as talented as I do. Hey, we all need an honest critique now and again. But still. My very first Flickr challenge, and I won! Yay!

I feel a little silly about all of this. I know that my Flickr winnings won't make me richer or thinner or more sympathetic toward people who think Wrangler jeans are cool again. I know this. But I'm still proud of myself. I feel vindicated somehow. I took a good picture, dammit, and nobody can take that away from me. And I'll probably submit another photo today, because I'm the sort of person who can't quit while she's ahead.