Some changes are coming for 2011.
First, the big one:
- the death of the "monthly special" as we know it.
1. What it was.
The idea was to have a monthly theme that would encourage community-like participation. The start looked promising. Nearly 40 people (links have since disappeared because I stopped using Mr. Linky) tried a grid project, posted their results, and linked back. Sadly, the first month was the best participation I ever had.
2. Where it went wrong.
Hard to say exactly. My guess is that it has something to do with audience. As my readership grew, the participation declined. My Google Analytics stats soared, but who were all these people? Many of them were coming for the tutorials. I like doing tutorials (when I can find the time) because I always learn something by teaching, but I also want to explore other photo themes and interests. For a while, I started to see more readers from the photoblog world. I started to get requests from photographers to critique their work. Some even asked for career advice. Although invisible, my diverse community of readers made we wonder if I should cater to one type of reader over another. But each time I questioned where things were headed, I came up with the conclusion that since I'm not getting paid to do this, I need to follow my own interests, however mixed they may be.
3 Where it is going.
Naturally, I would still LOVE to get comments and develop some sort of community, but I'm no longer going to do a formal "monthly special." Instead, I am re-organizing everything under a "Specials" category during the month of January. For example, the "grid," "squares," and "dots" specials all have posts that will contribute to a "grids" specials meta-post (which I will post immediately following this one). Any post that relates to the grids theme will be added to the "grids" post under "specials" in the sidebar. This will make navigating my archives very user-friendly.
Now, instead of a "monthly special," I will have many "specials" and will add to them whenever I do a post related to that theme. New "specials" will appear, but not every month. And for participation, I will still WELCOME any links from someone who has worked on ANY project under the "specials" and wants to share. Send a link in a comment and I may even do a post recognizing your efforts.
Other changes for 2011:
- more interviews. I have loved the interviews, but had trouble coming up with new people that I felt like interviewing. That has changed. I have a new treasure trove of photographers I would love to interview. I'll explain where I found it soon.
- what's on my coffee table will be a new regular feature. My passion for photography books is not dying anytime soon, so I plan to do regular posts to document and share books in my collection.
- real-life retouch will be a regular feature. Posts that walk through the retouching process can be more helpful than a typical tutorial in some ways.
- tutorials are not going away, but I am more likely to do micro-tutorials that teach a basic principle on a regular basis, and save the bigger tutorials for when I feel inspired to do them.
- physical printed photos interest me, so I will do at least one post a month about displaying photos, getting photos printed, making a book of photos, or anything else that will inspire you to put your digital photo in paper form.
Two more things:
1. I am doing a yearly theme that reflects some sort of long-term interest of mine. Posts on that theme will occur throughout the year and will then be grouped into a new "special" category in the sidebar at the end of the year.
2. I am launching a movie blog: take-out movies! I am really excited about the new blog, because it will be co-authored with members of a movie group (like a book club, but for guys who just want to watch movies) I founded years ago (8? who knows? I'll figure that out for the inaugural post). Four of us attend the Sundance Film Festival every year, so you can expect festival coverage the last part of this month.
For me, this will revive my blogging for 2011. Keep reading and tell your friends>
Happy New Year!