Can a photo captured with a 2-megapixel camera from 2002 still be popular today? Well, of course it can—if the subject matter works.
Photos taken in the early 00s are in a weird in-between time
The early digital photography years are before the era of social media and sharing online. They come after the days of beloved film.
Photos taken with digital cameras in the early 00s are largely forgotten. These images rarely get posted online. No Flickr in 2002. Definitely no Instagram. No Facebook. Nothing online with hearts or likes or favs. In 2002 you captured images, and you might manually upload them to your own website using FTP, hand-coding HTML.
Photos prior to the 00s in the film era get a sort of precious treatment. “Oh this was shot on film! It’s important and serious!”—which there is some truth to that. Creating quality photos in film was hard work. Photographers didn’t have digital preview screens on their camera. Often, you truly had to learn aperture and shutter speed. And then the dark room, and developing. What a process! If you produced prints back then, you went through a lot work, and you pretty much had to be serious.
Early digital photography era
Then we get the early 00s. Digital cameras made it incredibly easy to capture photos. We had screens on the back of our cameras! We could actually see what the photo looks like before we captured it! And we could see what it looks like after we captured it! And there was no cost of film. Shoot as much as you like!
Although what you captured was on two mega-pixels. A mere 1600×1200 size. Not high resolution. Often very compressed. Captured by a low-grade sensor. Photography from the early 00s? These quick shots are buried in the past.
A couple days ago I was digging through my archives from this forgotten era of digital photography, trying to find some of my oldest images.
This one of the Wrigley Building at sunset was especially striking. That Wrigley Building with its white terra-cotta clay exterior really captures tones and colors beautifully. The whole building is like a giant canvas ready to accept all sorts of lighting throughout the day and night.
This image was never posted to Flickr, because Flickr didn’t even exist in 2002.
I posted this image online, amusing myself that here I am in 2020 posting an image from 2002—one of my earliest photographs from within the first year I owned a digital camera.
Lo and behold, people on Flickr started to like the photo. Initially, the first 9 views garnered five favs. Now the photo is up to 2514 views with 82 favorites.
This photo is now ranked #187 for photos uploaded on March 25, 2020.
This image is now my 14th most fav’ed image on Flickr. And I’ve been using the site since 2005.
To get a sense of how much traffic my images get these days, here’s my regular line chart of visits:
Most days I get around 400 views of my photos. But with this particular shot, I got a total of 2,795 views. Almost 7 times the amount of views in a day.
The favs chart is even more startling. Most days I get zero favs. Sometimes there might be a few. One day I got an amazing 7 favs. But with this image. BOOM. 72 favs in a day.
Rather amusing that a photo from 2002, shot with a two-megapixel camera can reach #187 on Flickr’s Explore.