The new (old) digital publishing adventure

The new (old) digital publishing adventure

The new (old) digital publishing adventure 3000 1466 John Whitmore Photography
SHOCK! HORROR!

Recently I have deleted my Facebook account and I’m considering removing my IG account – even though I’ve just got past the magic 1000 followers mark.
Having massively reduced the amount I post to them this year I still seem to spending a huge amount of time on them.  More than ever FB owned platforms are not a productive place for myself to be putting my work.  A huge amount of time and energy can be spent creating content and posting to these platforms and I would rather spend that time producing new work and talking with people.

We all see the world differently and at this moment my view isn’t one that is helping me continue to make images, publish them, exhibit them or sell them.  I need to change this and this is how I am doing it.

A quarterly zine subscription AND a patronage.

I’m not actually a huge fan of subscription models as they have become, particularly in the software industry, however for print and creative endeavours I believe they work.

Part of this is my problem, I’m fully aware I am not a ‘business’ person and everyone keeps telling me I need to be.  If I don’t think as a business I will fail.  But that is not what I am.  So I’m choosing not to be what people tell me I should.

Those imaginary people tell me I need a strong social media presence, I should post to Instagram once a day, Twitter 4 times a day.  I need targeted advertising campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Google.  Well, I’m choosing to forget all about these things and concentrate on myself.

What I’m losing in potential exposure on these platforms I’ll hopefully be gaining in subscribers and supporters that are focused on my work.

The problem is me

I tend to get drawn into social media, aimlessly scrolling, it’s not healthy and I have become to numb with content overload.  The more people tell me it is what I must be doing – an online social presence is essential  – the more I want to not be involved.

Part of the issue is the way they are made.  Fundamentally they are designed for the users and their posts to be the commodity.  We give to these platforms in return of likes, shares, community and most importantly for a photographer/artist, exposure, sharing and discussion.
But ultimately what I need as an artist are for people to leave these bubbles and engage with my work on an individual level, through my website, visiting exhibitions or supporting my work through buying prints, zines etc.
And this is where the platforms fail in my opinion.

This change has been crossing my mind for a long time and after hearing the wonderful Jack Lowe discuss his thoughts on the matter during a recent LFPP.  Even Jack, with his huge following on FB + IG, and a creator of incredible art, committing so much to his current project, was not seeing any benefits with these platforms.
I have decided it is time to make a similar leap.

The big stinger for me is that these platforms make huge amounts of money from our content and data without the return.  As an artist who is trying to make a living from what I create it makes no sense for me to be part of system that generates money from my work without a return.  And don’t even get me started on my views regards their moral behaviour and policies.

We are all being USED by them.

I know I’m living in the past and the world has changed.  Images flow freely as 0s and 1s at the speed of light but with every copy, and every paste a little bit of the soul of the image is lost.  The light reflecting off the scene and through the lens.  The fingers of the hand, of the person who pressed the shutter.  All gone, detached and turned into RGB values.

How to get involved

This part is really simple, head over to my support page, pick a subscription that works for you and click subscribe!
In return you will have my undying gratitude and know that anything I create you will play a part in. Most importantly you will be eligible for a quarterly zine, welcome gifts, prints and discounts.

I’m free to do what I want

The future for me is digital and print self publishing including:

To Patreon or Patron.

This was a difficult choice, use a platform like Patreon with all the features and user base or roll out my own version independently.   As you can see, I came to the conclusion that I would do it myself!

During the 90s the internet changed the world, giving direct access to so much information without the need of intermediaries.  But we seem to be back at a point where gatekeepers are now silently controlling things with so many perceived benefits to us all.

Technology was supposed to give us more time to do the things we love, yet it seems that technology has done nothing but consume, making us believe we are getting something from it. These new middle-men or online gatekeepers are the only winners.  They control everything with the illusion of making you think you have control and a choice.  By subscribing directly on my website you know all proceeds (well, as much as possible!) are going directly to funding the zine and my projects.

I like to understand how things work and get my hands dirty trying them out for myself.  So expect plenty of that in the future.

Choosing & Losing Issue 0

Choosing & Losing – The Zine!

A quarterly A5 zine, printed on recycled paper, containing a collection of photographs from the previous 3 months and archive images.
They will be connected through a theme, writing or stories.

Special Launch Edition Issue #00 – ‘Tear it all down’ has been designed and as soon as you subscribe you will have access to the digital PDF, it will be sent off to the printers later this month for delivery early November.
Future issues will be printed and shipped on this schedule:

January
April
July
October

What to expect!

  • Plenty of images from Coventry!  2021 is a big year for Cov, with the City Of Culture coming into (slightly delayed) full effect.  I’ve been documenting the changes taking place in the city centre for the last few years and I will continue to follow this story as it unfolds in front of us.
  • Photography and Darkroom printing experiments.
  • Behind-the-scenes and documentary photography.
  • Photography/Art – whatever you want to call it, some of my work fits into either, neither or both?  You decide.
Imaginary questions that have appeared in my own head while contemplating this adventure:
  • Will it just be my images/words in the zine?
    To start with.  If there is enough patron support I will look to bringing on contributors but ONLY if I can pay them.  This will be in the form of a small fee for images/content.  I believe every little helps.
    Not that I have anything against community driven media platforms publishing content for no fee – I do have a real problem with big publishers doing the same.  In the early stages of low print runs there is zero budget for contributors (I include myself in that) – hence why I wont be accepting them.  BUT with the crowdfunding, patronage, support, charity, whatever you want to call it – if the subscription numbers are high enough then funding will be allocated to support contributors.  Simple.
  • Is anyone actually going to support me?
    I did a simple equation involving time, social media, number of followers, number of subscribers and it turns out if only 1 person subscribes I’ll be making more from my posted images than I do at the moment, so is it worth it.  Hopefully.
  • But then not as many people will see my photos!
    At least that one subscriber will actually see my images in isolation and not be generating money for big social media platforms.
  • So what will I post on SM?
    Behind the scenes, process and promotional images I reckon.I love Twitter as a platform for conversation (most of the time!) – I’ve made some wonderful friends there that have translated into real world friendships too, so i’ll be sticking with that.
  • Isn’t this completely self indulgent?
    Yes, probably.
Sri Lanka : The Zine

A selection of B&W and colour photographs all taken on 35mm and medium format film around the south of Sri Lanka.
Showing landscapes, tea plantations, markets, people and the 5,500 step night walk up Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) for sunrise at the temple at the top.
Colombo, Ella, Galle, Hatton, Kandy and many more.

Limited First Edition
A5 (approx. 148 x 210 mm)
48 full-colour and B&W pages
Paper: 170 gsm Recycled
Cover : 250gsm Recycled