When you use the browser that comes with AOL, there are a few preferences that you can set. One of them is "compressed graphics". The default is to have it set for compressed.
This makes for a faster load time, but does degrade the quality of what you look at. You can change the setting if you want, to have the longer load time, and higher quality graphics. You might try looking at one of the galleries, with and without compression set. You might also compare the load times, with and without compression. There is no "right answer" to this, only a choice you can make. If you do the comparison, remember to use "reload" or it won't be a good comparison, because the picture will load from your hard disk buffer.
To use "Uncompressed Graphics", do the following:
Your AOL browser display might not look exactly like the above, but click on "PREFS"
You should see a dialog box like the above (but it might not be exactly the same). If you don't have "Uncompressed Graphics" selected, then you should select it, and you'll get much better fine detail in pictures.
You might have to hit "RELOAD" (see the first screen) to get the benefit of this immediately, otherwise it might go on showing you the same old compressed graphics for a while.
While we're on the subject of AOL, it's worth mentioning that my web site comes to you via an AOL proxy. This means that if two AOL members access the same page, in succession, AOL supplies the page from its proxy, not via my server. This ought to be faster and more efficient in use of telecoms. One consequence of this, however, is that when I make a change, it doesn't show up immediately to AOL users. This is not usually of any importance, but it does mean that if an AOL users ask me to make a change, then even if I do it immediately, you won't be able to see the change for a while.
Some AOL members have complained to me about a problem accessing my server on account of too much network traffic. I'm afraid that problem isn't with my server, it's at the AOL end. You'll have to ask AOL to put in more bandwidth capacity, or else access my web site via another route.
If you do use another Internet Service Provider, you should consider using them to get to AOL, it's called the BYOA (bring your own access) plan, and it's half the price of the plan that uses the AOL modems. So, taking another ISP isn't as expensive (maybe $10 per month) as it would seem, since you'll save $10 on AOL charges. That's what I do, and it means I get onto AOL first time every time, and I can use my browser (I use Netscape) outside of AOL, even while AOL is running.
If you're using the AOL 2.5 browser, you won't be able to access the Galleries at all. The answer is to update your AOL.
If you're using AOL's browser, you might consider upgrading to Netscape or MS Explorer (you can get those from AOL, Keyword Netscape or Explorer).