Welcome to the 21st-Century world of amateur and professional photography. Many things have changed, but some have not. Getting published in a national magazine seems to be as much of a goal for photographers as ever. The founders of JPG magazine understand that ambition.
There is something grand about seeing your image and byline published in a quality magazine. Also, how many of us photographers use equipment that we love, and feel the need to share our enthusiasm with the rest of the world?
JPG magazine is published by 8020 publishing and it brings the best photos from an online community to print. About 35,000 copies are printed and are sold through subscriptions ($25/yr) or on newsstands ($6/copy) such as those at Borders and Barnes & Noble bookstores.
The premise is simple. JPG members sign up for an account and shoot, upload, and submit images. Then, a peer community comments and votes on each image and story. Editors create the issue with the final selection of the best of the best. Contributors get $100 and a free subscription.
Issues have themes ranging from Democracy to The Fanatic, Fashion to The Self. The early issues were actually printed by LuLu.com and are still available on demand.
The story behind JPG Magazine is very interesting, particularly because the innovative concept of printing the best content from the web arose at a time when many traditional magazines were under pressure to build strong online counterparts to complement their printed editions. As more and more people started turning to the web for their news and information, some analysts are questioning how long print publications will be able to survive.
JPG Magazine has proven that solid opportunities exist for publishers who think differently. JPG Magazine started in 2005 when Derek Powazek and Heather Powazek Champ saw how many high-quality images were appearing on photo-sharing sites such as Flickr. From those roots, the idea to use reader-generated online content to create a printed magazine was born.
The concept has proven wildly successful. For each issue, thousands of people submit tens of thousands of images. To choose which images get published, hundreds of thousands of votes are cast by thousands of people all over the world. I am a big fan of JPG magazine's submission guidelines. The images need to be authentic, brave, and real. Images with digitally altered text are rejected. No multiple photos on a single upload, no misrotated photos, no digitally added borders, no enlargements, no duplicate photos.
My taste in photography tends to lead toward authenticity, meaning little if any digital manipulation or staging. This is evident in my image Mother and Child which won first prize in HP's 2005 On Assignment Photo Contest.
I am a member of JPG and to date none of the images I've submitted have been published. But that doesn't stop me from shooting images related to each issue's theme and entering and voting. Viewing the winning images in each issue of JPG magazine is just as interesting as it is to belong to the community that votes on the winners.
If you're not yet a member of JPG, check it out. If you haven't yet seen your images published in a national magazine, JPG provides a great opportunity to give it your best shot!
Flickr is a great place for the new amateur, the accelerated semi-pro photographer, and working professional photographer. The flickr community is vast and amazing and I never get bored of looking at images from my contacts in the community.
I have had a flickr account since July 14, 2004. The first shot I posted was from my Samsung cameraphone of two wonderfully charming young girls named Branwen and Rhianon who are the children of my good friend Alan. I now have over 1200 images (which is not that many compared to other flickr users) and over 250 contacts. I belong to a few hundred groups and administer five, including a color management group and a group devoted to digital printing. Images are put into sets and collections of sets to make it easier to organize. I currently have 40 sets. I also have a Pro Account which gives me unlimited storage, uploads, bandwidth, and sets, as well as permanent archiving, and ad-free browsing and sharing. Amazingly, it only costs $24.95/year.
I often just love to explore and see if I can find an image of something abstract or seemingly rare. For instance, the other day I entered “Babirusa” and found dozens of images of the wonderful pig-like animal native to Sulawesi. I also looked for images of Latvia (a country I have always wanted to visit and came across some amazing landscapes by marika_te).
Because my wife and I own a 1965 classic 122s model Volvo, I recently looked to see if there were any images of that particular model on the site. Amazingly, I found over 100 images and several groups devoted to vintage Volvos.
One of the most popular groups is the Shooting to Learn Group, which is devoted to learning and exploring the photographic craft. The group is moderated by Dawn Perry and hosts assignments ranging from specific techniques to monthly photo contests. It’s an excellent resource for developing your photographic skills.
I also really enjoy looking at my favorite images from other flickr members. Images range from the very simple to the extraordinarily complex and are a constant source of inspiration. It’s amazing what we all photograph.
If you are worried about copyright, the default setting for all uploads is All Rights Reserved. If you wish you can attribute a Creative Commons license to protect and authorize the usage of your images.
I continue to be amazed by flickr, and I have only begun to scratch the surface. There is always something new and interesting being developed. The latest feature is called Places where you can browse images which have been Geotagged for a particular city. I searched for Riga, the capital of Latvia and found some amazing images from architecture to urban landscapes.
In my opinion, Flickr represents the future of the digital imaging community. It is a wonderful world for photographers, and if you haven’t yet visited, I would encourage you to do so.
Photography is one of the most joyful activities you can do with your time on this planet. I love seeing the world in its perpetual present moment and then capturing that moment as a digital memory.
The Real Joy of Photography to me is capturing presence. I still need to learn how to shoot in late evening when the only light sources are the moon, scattered and distant lights, and the reflections and atmosphere. But low-light photography is a different post. This post is about The Real Joy of Photography, and how it can free us from the stresses of our daily routines and challenge us to look at the world in a whole new light.
I recently took time off from my graphic-design business and technology teaching work to travel with my family to Washington, the Evergreen State. We visited dear friends and family. We were tourists and explorers. I shot lots of images of places and things.
I shot everything from public art at SEATAC airport to early afternoon light hitting Mt. Rainier. It felt so good to be present and simply looking to see what was around me. For me this was real joy.
When I have the time to consciously look for something to shoot, it pays off in many ways. For one thing, I am constantly amazed at the beauty that presents itself when I just take time to look.
I especially like how architecture looks from different positions in a given environment. The Seattle Space Needle from its base yields wonderful architectural geometry. I had a similar experience visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris for the first time. It can also be surprising to see what gets captured when I look through the camera viewfinder and point it at the subject of interest.
What makes the Real Joy of Photography complete is being able to share my images with others. For me (and thousands of others), this is where flickr comes in. If you don't know what flickr is (or think it's just a bunch of tweens posting images from their cellphones), then please take note. Flickr is not just for amateurs. It's for everyone. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how many accomplished photographers use the site to share their work (and their own joy of photography). I will mention some of my favorite groups on flickr in a future post. It's a great community!
If you visit this link to flickr, you'll see everything from images I took of Archaeology in Israel to my four-year-old shooting a digital camera for the first time. (Now that's the real joy of photography!)