If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I’ve composed a story nearly 8 million words long about my first year living in San Francisco as an adult! No one — not even my parents — would read a diary that long. But many of my friends and relatives have looked at all 7,900 photos that I’ve shot and uploaded to Flickr chronicling how I’ve been rediscovering my hometown and springboarding from here to daytrips and longer travels over the past 365 days.
Many of my photos feature food. Why? I admire creative culinary execution. I seek inspiration for plating my home cooking. And sometimes — just sometimes — my appetite proves to be so adventurous that people not only want to know what the concoction I ordered tasted like, but also what it looked like (and maybe how much of that stuff I dared to swallow). Photographing my memorable meals serves another practical purpose: when friends ask me for restaurant recommendations, I now send them a link to my meal’s Flickr photo album instead of typing up a lengthy review. Plus, if my pals encounter a language barrier — especially when traveling abroad — they can simply flash the photo of what they want to order.
All of this dawned on me — and prompted me to dig into my photo data — because Flickr announced yesterday that its consumers uploaded 1 billion additional photos in the past 11 months. That’s propelled the popular online image-sharing service’s collection to the milestone of 6 billion uploads. My photojournalistic penchant — to capture and publish the interesting details and scenes swirling around me — helped just a tiny bit.
One day if I have time, I’ll transform these first-year-in-SF photos into a rapid-fire Pummelvision slideshow video so all 7,900 snapshots will flash before viewers’ eyes in a mere 17 minutes. (Sure that sounds long, but that’s still a dizzying 8 photos per second.) Then it’ll be easier and more entertaining to compare my inaugural 12 months here with my 11 months in New York City.