JPG is a good magazine. It’s a good place for aspiring photographers to submit to; it’s a good place for fans of photography to see some of the best, newest, freshest, non-commercial work around; it’s a good place for supporters of internet freedoms like expression and community to gather and communicate their ideas. It’s a good, good thing.
JPG is also a fairly unusual magazine in that it is very much for the people, by the people. The magazine is run by a handful of people who perform tasks like selection of written content, design, layout, etc. The photos, however, are chosen not just by an editor by by votes. On the website, members can vote each picture on whether or not it fits the given theme. It is important to realize that the voting has nothing to do with quality or composition or skill, or rather, it has everything to do with those ideas, providing they are used in support of the theme.
Each issue contains a theme or three and the editors pick from the highest rated photographs on the website to build an issue devoted to the theme. Each issue is then printed on demand when a purchase order is sent in. This makes the magazine a little more expensive, but it lets the magazine stay in business without major commercial or advertising support.
In short, I really like the magazine and think it is an interesting social experiment in the development of popular, readitly available, amateur media. It is also somewhere I submit to on occasion, but without any success as of yet.
In fact, I have been thinking of possible compositions to submit to the current theme of “intimate”. While contemplating my own ideas, I went onto the site to see what others had been up to and to place a few votes. There are a ton of great photos already posted for consideration of the theme. Fantastic photos. Well made photos. Photos exploring light and composition and boundaries. Just not too many that I thought depicted “intimate” or “intimacy”.
The problem is, too many people seem to feel that “intimate” and “private” are synonyms when they are not. Intimate means sharing the deepest, most secret parts of ourselves; revealing our hidden truths and scars. This is why the act of sex is often described as “being intimate” and why lawyers cite “a lack of intimacy” as legitimate grounds for divorce. “Private”, on the other hand, means only to be alone, or to be kept within oneself. After all, diaries often contain “private” thoughts, but they rarely contain “intimate” thoughts.
This may seem like I am being pedantic or just splitting hairs, but it’s what I have been thinking about as I look through these photographs. It’s what I wish I could explain to so many of these photographers who are taking such great photos that I vote to keep out of the issue; it’s what I’ll be keeping in mind as I keep my camera in hand this weekend, looking for intimicy in the middle of the crowd.
technorati tags:jpg, photo, submit, intimate
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