Having The Top Photo On Reddit Can Be A Curse And A… Curse?

Having The Top Photo On Reddit Can Be A Curse And A… Curse?

When it comes to generating ridiculous amounts of traffic, nothing much beats hitting the front page of Reddit. Whether you’re promoting a blog post, software or in this case, a photograph, Reddit is your best chance of spreading the word. There are some caveats, of course, particularly when images are involved, as photographer Kris J B recently (and unfortunately) learned the hard way.

This post was originally published on Lifehacker Australia.

A good rule of thumb when it comes to the internet is if it can be copied, it will be copied — usually without credit. It’s a sad, nigh uncontrollable aspect of putting your work online, so you have to take the potential of generating massive amounts of attention with the equally large odds that your stuff is going to be flogged around without your knowledge or consent.

You might also have to deal with some strange, unjustified comments from complete strangers, but again, that’s life on the internet.

Over on Petapixel, photographer Kris J B recounts his tale of reaching the #1 position on the /r/pics subreddit with one of his pictures: this striking shot of Mount Fuji in Japan. It did well, collecting over 5000 points and a 98 per cent upvote ratio.

Expecting that it could be shared around, J B took the precaution of using a low-res image, though one still large and clean enough to be impressive. As J B writes in the article, he had been taught a valuable lesson when he was previously more “liberal” with a high-resolution version:

The “Fuji shot” had already made a splash, having been licensed by Bing Japan for their background image of the day, in July of 2013. It had also been my first competition win, having won 1st prize in Getty Image’s national “A Moment Connecting – Japan” entry.

Unsurprisingly, the high-res photo started appearing in places J B did not expect — “‘foreign buzzfeed’-style sites, a couple of ‘free desktop background’ offerings” as he explains. Trying to hit up these outlets for credit proved a fruitless task. Hence the more cautious approach this time round.

Except it came with several new problems — including not creating as much exposure as he would have liked. The most depressing (and ironic) issue J B ran into was being accused of taking false credit for the photo, thanks to internet sleuths and the magic of Google’s reverse image search:

I’d say about 20 users posted results from reverse-google-image-search, such as screenshots of the results or my website and Flickr. They’d say things like: “Climbed Mt. Fuji, huh? So you are Kris J B, owner of THIS WEBSITE and THIS FLICKR who took this photo TWO YEARS AGO? Yeah right.”

He ends the piece by pointing out that he did get a spike in traffic, but that’s all it was — a flash in the pan. I personally don’t find this remarkable, but if you’re looking at Reddit to get hits on your portfolio, you might want to think twice about your approach… or whether it’s worth it at all.


Body photo: Kris J B