Looking Back on 2011, Looking Forward to 2012

One year is like a decade in internet time. It’s only been nine months since the re-design/re-branding and launch of the print magazine, but it feels like this is the way we’ve always been. I feel much more at ease with the editorial direction now than I did at the end of last year. And yet, I’m filled with anxiety about 2012 because the landscape for photography blogs and magazines is complicated and changing incredibly fast. It’s extremely difficult to sustain any momentum and get your voice heard in a crowded marketplace.

I feel fortunate we’ve been able to sustain a decent readership and following on our social media channels. Modest, but growing I like to think. The numbers don’t really concern me though. I’m primarily focused on evolving and improving editorially. Quality is what counts and that’s what brings in readers.

For us, that not only means developing interesting features for the web, but also for our print edition. It’s been an interesting experience and as you can imagine, working in print brings in a whole new set of challenges. There are some things we’ll do differently next year but for the most part I’m very happy with the issues we published this year.

A big thanks to the guys that did the design work: Alex JD Smith, Geoffrey Ellis and Alexi Hobbs. Thanks to James Turnley for all his help during the year. He’s always a great sounding board for me and has contributed some interesting features over the year.

The biggest thanks though goes out to our readers! And our print subscribers. It’s hard to gauge who’s actually reading your website but this year I received some incredibly moving emails and submissions, which always re-energized me and made me excited about the future of LPV. I’m dead set on pursuing collaborations that will bring us to new places editorially, even if that means having a modest readership. LPV would not continue if I didn’t feel creatively challenged and excited to work with photographers, designers, and writers. I still feel excited about what we’re doing and believe we’re still in the very early stages of a long journey.

©Alor Mark Powell- From Issue #1

Highlights From 2011

LPV Magazine in Print
It’s been a struggle at times, but I’m very proud of the work we’ve done with the print issues. We can certainly improve though. If you subscribe, you’ll receive all three issues at once, and you’ll be eligible for our photobook raffle. We’ll be raffling three books to our subscribers in a few weeks.

But maybe you don’t have the funds to buy the print versions. That’s cool! I understand. You can always download the PDF’s for FREE or browse through the issues right here, which also includes the interviews.

Photographs on the Brain
The tumblr took off this year. I primarily use it to aggregate interesting articles and photographs that I find while surfing the web. It’s fairly simple and I like it that way.

Community, Crowdfunding & Incentives
A piece I wrote about in January about the importance of community building and crowdfunding incentives. David Campbell wrote an excellent three part series around these issues, sighting this article in Part 2.

The Hermit Photographer
Ok, I guess I can publicly reveal that Emerson, The Hermit Photographer is fictional. I needed to create new voice and character to channel some of ideas, and basically just to rant a bit. It was amusing to watch the reaction though. I was toying with the idea of creating a Tumblr but writing in the voice for a prolonged period could be hazardous.

The Process, The Stream, and The EndI think this was the best essay I wrote this year. It wrapped up some ideas I’ve had about publishing photography on the internet. Unfortunately, there really are no concrete answers to the challenges at this point.

The Dreams and Delusions of Photographers
Perhaps a bit cynical at times, but it provoked a decent debate.

Photographers Should Write More
Probably the most read article of the year. Words and photographs can be a contentious issue but I consider myself a writer and a photographer so they need to find a way to co-exist in my creative universe.

Feature: “I don’t fuck much with the past but I fuck plenty with the future”
A collaboration with Pauline Magnenat of All of This Is Rocket Science. She’s pretty great.

A Photobook Friday in Brooklyn
Thanks to Noah Kalina and Joerg Colberg for making this happen. It was awesome. I can’t wait for the next one!

Elizabeth Clark Libert – Portraits
I really enjoyed the stories that Elizabeth shared about a few of her portraits.

Nguan – “the quiet hum of ordinary life”
Nguan shot this series exclusively for LPV. That’s a first, and man, it’d be awesome if we could do more of that in the future while fairly compensating photographers!

Joao Canziani – 99
It was an amazing experience working with Joao on a project he was so passionate about. Truly one of the most enjoyable creative collaborations I’ve had running LPV, and certainly an experience I’ll never forget. Thanks Joao!

James Luckett – Forest
For the last couple of years I’ve wanted to work with James. We’d correspond. Throw out some ideas. He’d send strange and amusing postcards. Then finally he hit on an idea and I let him run with it. Turned out great.

Mikael Kennedy – Passport to Trespass Vol. 8 & 9 – Part 1
What an honor to work with Mikael as he brought his epic project to a close. I have a deep admiration for his philosophy toward not only photography but life.

©Mark King- From Issue #2

A Few Speculations About 2012

1) The Collaborative Platform
There are numerous collectives active right now, but not many collective photography blogs or platforms. I think this will change in 2012. People will realize that running a one person shop is hard work and will realize that if they pool their resources together they can build something more sustainable. We hope to do this with LPV, and I predict that the launch of the new Flak Photo site will be more collaborative in nature.

2) More More More More Photography Magazines
Hey, there’s nothing too terribly difficult about all of this stuff. There will be more photography magazines with kickass designs, big hopes and great photographs. Many will probably publish print versions as well. It’ll be increasingly difficult to stand out in the crowd. To stand out, magazines and blogs will need to offer something unique editorially.

3) Video Killed the Writer
Look for more video to show up in blogs and magazines. We’ll be experimenting with video interviews. I think there’s real opportunity here because it requires collaboration and very few are doing it well right now.

4) Revenge of The Critics
I’m not sure about this one but I have a hunch that a few blogs dedicated to criticism and deeper analysis will develop and be welcomed to the online community. I think if the tone resonates, there’s a real opportunity for photography criticism to take hold. There’s been several discussions about this online the last week which I think is early sign of demand for critical writing.

5) iPad is the Place to Be
I’m a loser. I don’t have an iPad yet. Fuck! Tablets are exciting and new and the future and awesome and ‘the way’ and the savior. Yeah, ok. Give it a few years. Shiny new object syndrome and all that, but clearly there’s something interesting and innovative going on. Many more publishers will experiment in 2012 and probably hit upon something interesting.

6) You’re Not Invited to the Party!
The wild west of the web can be fun but conversation can quickly devolve into chaos. Closed networks (Flak Photo Network), private forums, hidden Tumblr’s will pop up more frequently. I welcome this change. My days in HCSP have taught me that open, online Forums really are dead ends. Or maybe I just haven’t explored enough. Irregardless, we have the tools now to easily put up the gates and I think many more people will do so.

7) Sorry, There’s No $$$ in Photoland
My sense is that the terrible economy has forced many people to turn to the internet for hope. They’re underemployed, perhaps desperate, and looking for something positive. The internet is attractive. If you work hard, you can build something. Unfortunately, making money on the internet is extremely difficult. Sure, there are the outliers that many people look to as the way forward, but mostly it’s just a dream. I don’t want to be the type of guy who pisses on a dream, but I think people need to be realistic about what they can do on the web.

To those that prove me wrong, congratulations. You’re in select company.

©Missy PrinceFrom Issue #2

LPV in 2012

1) More Writing About Photography and Book Reviews
I plan to do more writing about books and photography next year. Last year I spent a good amount of time thinking about how web culture is impacting photography. Over the last few months I’ve felt I’ve said pretty much everything that I need to say about social media and the internet. Maybe that’ll change, who knows. But next year I want to spend more time writing about photography books and photographs. I think photography is a great portal into our culture and I want to explore that through writing.

2) LPV Video
I’ve got some ideas for video and will probably explore them. Will it work? Will showing my mug on video be a disastrous PR move? Maybe. That’s why I plan on bringing in guests so we can have conversations about photography over a couple of beers.

3) Collaboration
I welcome the eager, the ambitious, the hungry, those delirious and desirous to forage into the unknown. Young, old, naive, established, I want to hear from you. I want to hear about your crazy ideas. I want to be bored by your stupid ideas. I want to engage in philosophical conversations with you about memory, history, technology and the nature of photography. I want something new. I want to be challenged. I want your energy to frighten me. I want to sit down with you in a pub, in your town, on your time, on my dime. We’ll make things right, we’ll make things happen.

4) The Death of LPV
I might just walk away. “Kill your darlings.” I’m a dilettante. I’ve always found other things to do. Life is fun. If the adventure gets boring, veer off course and go somewhere else.

Issue #3 will be published online in the next week, featuring Ed Panar, Hannah Pierce-Carlson, Shane Lynam and Tommy Forbes, plus a group show edited by James Turnely.

  • http://twitter.com/jasonk_mcdonald Jason M

    Bryan, I’ve been following this blog (and you) since I joined HCSP several months ago. I love what you put out and its always A+ stuff. Thanks for doing what you do, keep on doing it, and I’ll have a beer for LPV at midnight tonight.

  • Matt Peterson

    Hey, since you’re considering Springtime, I’d suggest trying to time it so you can check out
    Art-A-Whirl, an artists open studio event in Nordeast. I’ve gone to it twice and enjoyed it both times. Just an idea. Their website says it will be May 18-20 in 2012.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Matt. Always appreciated!

    I’m trying to get back to Minneapolis. Probably in the spring sometime. I generally end up in Nordeast since that’s where most of my friends live.

  • Matt Peterson

    Onward and upward Bryan, you’ve proven to be a reliable source for quality content in my daily search for photography tidbits. I applaud what you have been doing, and look forward to it continuing. I’m fairly new to photography and much of what you have written, plus photography you’ve opened my eyes to, has helped to guide my own path in a direction that gives me much fulfillment. Your apparent passion and drive is contagious. Just keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll support you when I can, and refer readers to you when applicable. I’m probably coming across as overly praising, but frankly you deserve it.

    I live in the Northern suburbs of Minneapolis. If you’re ever in town I’d be happy to buy lunch, a beer – whatever.

  • http://briggate.wordpress.com/ Lloydspencer

    A very worthwhile post this, Bryan. A good deal of wisdom distilled here with lots to stimulate and guide reflection in 2012. Congratulations on your very very productive and creative 2011 and here’s looking forward to a equally stimulating 2011. 

    We here in Leeds, UK have just been surprised and delighted by the news that photographer Peter Dench will be opening a new gallery – the White Cloth Gallery – here in Leeds. A great 2012 beckons… (First delight will be 3rd issue of lpv magazine) Greetings and here are a few “Postcards from Leeds” 


    Best wishes for 2012.