Covid Traffic

We’ll start with my most viewed and downloaded photo on Unsplash. For those unfamiliar with Unsplash, it is essentially a website dedicated to sharing stock photography for free. Maybe I’ll write regarding why I upload and share my photos for free in another blog post in the future. If interested in learning more about Unsplash, click here.

A photo of a microscope in a lab.

Anyway, let’s get talking about the picture. During my junior year of college, around November 2019, I was actively posting on Unsplash, amassing tons of views and downloads from all over the world. I enjoyed seeing my pictures being put to use in various ways, from website articles, to Spotify podcast covers, and more. I was also actively looking for opportunities to get hired to either take pictures or shoot videos for people, mostly within the University of Rochester community.

One day, a friend of mine asked if I could take pictures of the lab he worked at and I obviously agreed. We didn’t discuss pay as I assumed he’d look after me since we’re friends after all, right? nope, that wasn’t the case. But anyway, I headed over to his lab where he worked as a lab coordinator or assistant if I recall correctly. As soon as we get there, I get greeted by the lab PI and they get to talking, what I remember is that something came up and they were kind of no longer interested in what we were planning to do. I did what I usually do when I have my camera on me and have consent of people to get their pictures taken, so as they were chatting, I snapped some photos of them. As you could imagine, 2 people talking got pretty boring in a few minutes and I started looking around the room and I noticed this little microscope, looked pretty clean and right next to a well lit window. Boom, I get to taking pictures of it with my 50mm F/1.8 with its beautiful buttery bokeh. Few minutes afterwards, we leave. What I thought was the end of the story with the gig turned out to be the opposite. I go home and started editing the pictures, I send them their personal photos and I kept the microscope photo, edited it and without much thought, I uploaded it to Unsplash.

Well, little did we know at the time, Covid-19 was around the corner and as months go by, this picture was getting more and more downloads and traction. People started using it on articles all around the world to discuss what became a horrible few years for everyone on earth. Now, as I’m writing this, it has amassed 2,522,791 views and 23,703 downloads.

I guess the point of this story is about how a photo gig turned into a really cool outcome for a picture that would otherwise have been either, not taken in the first place, or sleeping collecting digital dust in one of my hard drives.

The vertical version of the photo only amassed 218,842 views and 1900 downloads

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