Monday, January 07, 2008

A New Beginning on Flickr

First of all, let me just say that one should never surf the internet while half asleep. Because when you’re almost falling asleep you tend to make decisions without using your brain, which is what happened to me around New Year’s. I was browsing through flickr as a means to put off going to bed, as I tend to do on so many late nights. As always, I checked comments that people left on my photos. At this time of the year there are a lot of Happy Holidays greetings and it’s always nice to get them, even from strangers who just happen to pass by. One message contained a link and when I clicked on it, it took me to another page that required re-entering my password. I thought it was odd that flickr would do that, but being half-asleep I was on autopilot and entered my password as asked. I was then taken to a page with a nice photo of a pretty girl and some flowers. I thought it was rather strange but didn’t think too much of and went to bed.

On Saturday I was still in bed when Jason yelled from the study that he couldn’t find my flickr account. Being half-asleep (I seem to be doing that a lot lately) I dismissed it as a glitch in the system. When I got up I had to take Libby to the vet and proceeded to spend half a day there. It was only after lunch when I tried to log in myself that I found out that my account was gone. Poof! My comments on other people’s photos, my faves, everything was gone. It was as if I never existed on flickr, except the groups that I created were still there, only that the admin is now a faceless icon instead of me. It was at that moment that I realized that I had been phished. I wrote to flickr help but it seems pretty clear that they cannot restore the thousands of photos and tens of thousands of comments that are linked with my account (those that I made on other people’s photos and those that other people made on mine).

On Sunday, I started to get emails asking me what happened to my account. Some are from friends and some are from people I didn’t know or remember. While it’s comforting to know that I am actually missed on flickr, it also made me realize that losing that account means losing touch with friends I’ve made on flickr.

I’ve been with flickr from almost the very beginning. When I first joined I had just started taking photos again after quitting my job, using a dinky little Sony T-1, yes, the first generation super-slim Sony mini cameras. I found inspirations on flickr everyday, and saw myself striving to do better. Gradually, I improved. Three years and three cameras later, my photos are regularly seen on Flickr Explore (the most interesting 500 photos selected everyday) and have even made it to the top ten on more than a few occasions. My photos were published in the Wall Street Journal thanks to flickr; I was commissioned to take photos for Le Gouter Bernadaud (a lot of photos on this website are taken by me) because of photos on my flickr site; and last year, I photographed a cookbook. I still find inspirations from people who I count as contacts: MatthewA, Imapix, speedM, bokchoyboy, La Tartine Gourmand, rosemary*, Ya Ya, Lulu & Phillipe, Tommy Oshima, pfong, just to name a few. I also value the comments and critique that people leave on my photos. To say that I feel that a little part of my life is gone when my flickr account was deleted is to put it mildly. The only saving grace is that I have double, triple backups of every file I’ve ever uploaded on flickr so the photos are not lost.

I don’t know whether I will or even want to attempt to rebuild my account because it was more than just a couple of photo sets, it documented part of my life for the past three years. I thought about not returning, but giving up on flickr also means giving up on all the wonderful people on flickr. Above all, the emails that people sent me saying they’ll miss my photos and a friend’s wise words made me decide to return:

“And remember, never get angry or else the person who did this will be even happier..never punish yourself with others mistakes..

At one point of time in life we have to go through such bad experience, stay cool and move on if nothing can be done..

Stay happy and bake some good cookies and a cuppa of great coffee on your weekend

So to the person who did this: deleting other peoples’ accounts doesn’t make you a hero or a smart guy. You will not get any satisfaction from me because I will come back and my photos will be even better.

And to the one who made the callous remark that I somehow deserved this: when I said have a nice life, I mean it. Stop stalking me!


chocokat0718 said...

Lynn, I loved reading this and I was sooo confused when I couldn't find your account the other day. I thought something had happened and you were going to make another one, but never in a million did I think this would happen. I'm sending you hugs from here and hopefully things will work out well. Your photos are and will always be an inspiration and you will never be forgotten on flickr, of course!! No silly hacker will ever be able to do that to you. HUGS & best wishes for the New Year!!

Kathya *chocokat* with the two smiles. ;) :) :)

Lynn said...

awww kathya, that's so nice of you! Everything happens for a reason I guess. I take this as a sign to clean up my account, cut down on the number of contacts and file my photos on my HD better ;o)

e said...

Hi Lynn
My name is Eve and I live in Tokyo here with my partner and our Singaporean drain dog.
I know you have a Singapore special too and I was wondering if you could tell me the pet relocators you used when you moved?
We are moving either to Australia or back to Singapore in the near future.
I love your photos (sorry for lurking) and how lucky you are to have that talent for baking. I'm very envious.

Eve and Fei (the dog)

e said...

postnote: a lot of hacks have been viciously carried out on blogs and flickr accounts lately. Some of my friends blogs and accounts have been hacked into as well. Awful people. How can they sleep at night?


Pauline @ HongKong said...

I'm so glad you're not quitting flickr. Ever since I saw your fab. photos on flicks, I became a huge fans of you and also your lovely doggies. It's not a bad thing to 去舊迎新... :) Best wishes!!

delurking said...

I was confused when I couldn't find you account. I came here for news and now I'm heartbroken. Hope to see your pictures again there sometime soon.

Wishing you all the best.

Lynn said...

Hi Eve, thanks for stopping by, I wish I remembered the pet reloacator I used when we left Tokyo but I can't. Basically what happened was I did all the paperwork myself only to be told at the last minute by the airline that they don't deal with individuals. So I used a petmover recommended by the airline, and he was so expensive. Search the tokyo expat forum and I'm sure you'll get a good recommendation for a petmover. If you guys move back to Singapore we'll have to arrange a playdate for Fei and Cherry Garcia!

Pauline, you're right, a new year and a new beginning =o)

delurking, thank you so much! I just got my old account back but it'll be a while before I have photos in it. I need to have a system to re-upload.

h2okatcher said...

Lynn, I can't believe someone would do that and still wonder what they get out of such awful acts as deleting people's Flickr accounts. I'm glad you decided to come back to Flickr because I would definitely miss you & your gorgeous food pics; but worse we may lose touch with each other without Flickr. I know what you mean about having Flickr documenting your life for the past few years. I feel the same way. Hugs from DC!

Peony said...

sorry to read what had happened to your account.

I understand the feeling as it happened to me, but on my msn account.

btw, haven't seen your previous photos before but bet they must be great shots. Hope that I'll have a chance to see your great works.

*hugs* n best wishes for 2008

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynn, I've been reading your blog for some time and find it very interesting. I totally understand your feeling when your account was gone. I had the same experience before only mine was on blogger, all my blogs including recipe blogs were gone too in a day.

Hanan said...


I'm so sorry to read about losing your flickr account ... that's really awful.
I felt sad reading your blog ... as I would feel the same way. Flickr is like a diary... and carries lots of memories and happy occasions.
Please don't give up on us (your fans :o). I have always admired your food as well as your photos ... always a brilliant combination!
Glad you have your photos backed up!
All the best and please keep in touch. Hanan

Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

Oh my goodness, who would do such a thing? Your humility under such circumstances is testament to your own strength of character. Hugs for a new chapter ahead filled with the happiness and success you thoroughly deserve :)

Winnie said...

I'm so glad that you decided to stay I love looking at all your photos for inspiration. So sorry that this happens to you but very glad that you have backups!


bramble said...

Another delurker here wanting to give you her very best wishes, sympathy and... thanks.

Your food photos on Flickr are pure eye candy and I have learnt so much about photography through your photostream.

So, thank you for inspiring the rest of us and providing beautiful photographs for our viewing enjoyment!

Fingers crossed that the little sod that did this to you gets what's coming to him/her...

Lynn said...

Sarah, the main reason for me to decide to go back to flickr is the people. Sure, my photos are gone, but I'd hate to lose all the friends I made on flickr even more.

peony, I'll be steadily uploading photos so please take a look =o)

lin, OMG I don't know which is worse. I hope you have backups of your blog entries. I don't know why I'm so paranoid but I copy the html text of every blog I've ever written. But now, i need to go back to old blog entries and fix the photos because a lot of them link to flickr...

Hanan, I knew you'd understand. Like your stream, I felt like I went to your wedding even though we hadn't even met at that time.

Helen, that's so nice of you! I know I haven't been in touch lately but I always look at your food photos on flickr =o)

Winnie, yeah I can't tell you how glad I am that I didn't lose any photo files. That was also a lesson learned the hard way.

Bramble, awwwww that's so nice of you to say. I will keep on clicking and uploading =o)

Mad Baker said...

Lynn, I'm very shocked to read about what happened to your flickr account and am really relieved to hear that you have backups of all your wonderful photos. Shame on that awful person who did this and shame on anyone who thinks that anyone would deserve this!


Christine said...

Thanks for sharing what happened to you so that the rest of us can be on the lookout. I'm glad you decided not to leave flickr although looking at your pictures is killing my diet! ;)

Hugs and kisses to you and Libby and Cherry!


Bea said...

Oh no, what a shame! I bet you must have been quite confused, and upset. I hope you will slowly rebuild it. You are missed, and we will be there! Take care


ParisBreakfasts said...

I am so sorry this happened to you Lynn!
It makes no sense why some people do what they do?
Who benefits?
No one deserves this.
It's taking someone's creative work and destroying it...why?
Oh I'm just so, so mad!
Anyway who doesn't surf Flickr half asleep?
It's better than listening to Mozart.
I hope 2008 will be much better,

Anonymous said...

Lynn, unfortunately I didn't have backups of my blog entries then, I only had backups of my recipes. Initially I was really pissed and like you, I didn't wanna go back anymore..but then I thought, why would I be put down by all those hackers out there. I'm glad I'm back to blogging now, and I'm sure you would certainly wanna rebuild your flickr, cheers!

^cherie said...

*hugs* to you Lynn.

I can almost imagine your pain and your loss, something that is totally beyond words.

Good to know that you are coming back in full force! I love checking out your Flickr account. Such an inspiration..


^cherie said...

ps : and i still remember your photo entry at 1234.. a comment that u made somehow made me remember it quite distinctly :)

Lynn said...

Karen, thank you for that. I guess there are a lot of bored and mean spirited people out there.

Christine(mocmoc), hehe, don't go to the supermarket, watch cooking shows or look at food photos unless you just ate ;o)

Bea, yeah, it took me like half a day to figure out what happened. At first I thought flickr deleted it, but they usually only delete people who have porn or something so I knew it couldn't be them.

Hi Carol, Mozart huh? Anyway, it's not for us normal people to understand the criminaly inclined minds. Who knows what goes on in there!

Lin, you're right. If we quit, the hackers win. Anyway, to look at it from a different angle this is a perfect way to clean up my photos.

^cherie, awwww, I don't know why but reading your comment about my 1234th photo on flickr, I almost cried. It's so sweet of you to remember!

Marianna said...

Oh now I get why you recreated an account on Flickr!! Wow, the internet is a great thing, but it also has it's bads- hacking incidents and crap like that!! I'm very happy that you're back on Flickr though now, despite the photos that were lost etc (must be very frustrating), but my contact list is not complete without your amazing edible creations!

其安 said...

Lynn, I am a big fan of your photos for a long time, I was so upset when the other day your photos all dispeared from my favorites.
So Sorry to hear the bad news and so happy you ar back, you are tight, don't let the idiot get you!
Best wishes !

cherns said...

Like you said - it's a new beginning to greater photos :) I'm looking forward to it already.

alexis said...

I m so sorry to hear what had happen!!!Your photos had inspired me to visit tokyo and of course I did last year and again this year with my hubby and son!!!

Anyway u never how much they meant to you till u lose it!!

take care

Marcela said...

Hi Lynn,
we don't know each other, but I've seen your photos on Flickr a couple of times (in the past december) on your recently lost account. I'm sorry to hear about that, but as you say is a new beginning.
And the friend who advice you not to get angry is really a good friend...
Best wishes for the new year and I hope I'll visit more often your new account to enjoy (and envy a little bit ;) ) your beautiful photos.

baobei said...

well said words :)

Lynn said...

marianna, it's nice to have you back as a contact. You always leave the nicest comments. Thank you!!

其安,I won't. The best revenge is to come back with even better photos =o)

cherns, yup, it's a brand new adventure!

alexis, I hope you enjoyed Tokyo! I realized that my blog entries with photos using flickr urls now have big empty holes in them (the tokyo entry included) so I need to fix them, slowly.

marcela, thank you for your kind words. I'll see you on flickr!

baobei, I'm glad you agree =o)

Amrita said...

goodness me lynn, but who said that you deserved this? what a nutjob!

Sashertootie said...

Lynn, I've learned about Flickr 3 years ago from you through I just got back to CA from KL a week ago and have not been checking in for awhile. When I logged in today and couldn't find you on my contact list, I immediately turned to hubby and asked, "what happened to Lynn?". I was expecting to catch up and expecting to see lotsa pre & post New Year's pics as I started off the year on a bad note myself. So I did a search and was glad to find that \\\photos\lynnintokyo is still around BUT am shocked to learn that your account was hacked!! Flickr is an awesome community and it provides so many opportunities for so many people to get together, meet new friends as well as learn from one another, I can't fathom the thought of why anyone would do something like this.

Anyway, glad to have you back ;).

Here's Nietzsche's advice to all who have weathered setbacks, disappointments or hard times ...remember that "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"!!

- Christie a.k.a. Sashertootie

Lynn said...

christie, thanks for the good advice. It is so very true. I'm sorry to hear that your year has not started great but I hope it's getting better! Thank you for commenting and finding me on flickr!! One of the greatest losses of my account was losing all the contacts =o(

Patricia Scarpin said...

There are some really evil people on the Internet, but there are amazing people as well - like you. Thank you for sharing this with us - that is very generous and extremely kind.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that Lynn.. something similar happened to me few months ago when someone began to tag my flickr pictures. Indeed your pictures will be better than ever.