British photographer Kris Boorman summited Mount Fuji in 2012 and took a photograph from the top, showing the shadow cast by the giant mountain at sunrise. The image has since been used as a background for the Bing search engine and last year won a competition held by Gettty Images. A couple of days ago he posted the photo at low resolution on Reddit, and within a few hours it had garnered more than 6000 upvotes. Although this might sound like good news, Boorman quickly came to regret posting the picture.

In a follow-up post on Reddit (since edited and republished by PetaPixel) Boorman explains the lessons he learned from his experience of being #1 on Reddit Pics.

  1. People will do a lot with a small image
  2. Even if you post at low resolution, people will find the full-res image anyway
  3. Some people won’t believe it’s your own photo
  4. The recognition you gain from the photo's popularity will not be very fruitful

The first two lessons will be cringe-inducingly familiar to any photographer who has ever had an image stolen, misappropriated or otherwise ripped-off on the Internet. But the third and forth points are less obvious - although no less depressing.

The Internet is a strange place, where anonymous trolls can accuse a content creator of stealing their own work, and lots of people liking one of your pictures can actually be kind of a headache. As Boorman points out, 6000+ votes on his Mt Fuji picture on Reddit caused barely any uptick in visits to his other work, but did result in a flood of spam emails sent via the 'contact me' page on his website.

Sometimes, it seems, too much exposure can be a bad thing...

Mount Fuji sunrise image courtesy of Kris Boorman and reposted with permission. (Naturally).