photopigs launches platform for readers to drive content


Most publications scramble to produce as much content as possible to maximize advertising revenue. photopigs, on the other hand, works tirelessly to develop a model of production not entirely dependent on creating content geared to sell ads. The goal is to provide a service that encourages budding photographers to keep shooting. Digital technology is more accessible than ever and photography is for everybody.

In an economy of information, society also needs as many reporters as it can get. The sheer wealth of information is overwhelming and it only accumulates exponentially. Complex data is increasingly presented in graphic or photographic form but advancing technology makes deception difficult to spot. As such, photopigs aims to cultivate a culture of strong visual and media literacy skills.

The answer for how to achieve these goals was immediate. Today photopigs launches a platform for community.

Necessity of driving publications with community

Mrs. Jane Jacobs, chairman of the Comm. to save the West Village holds up documentary evidence at press conference at Lions Head Restaurant at Hudson & Charles Sts.
Photo by Phil Stanziola. Public Domain.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” Jane Jacobs, Life and Death of Great American Cities

In the early 20th century, a battle over the urban form took place in New York City as master plans for urban renewal were implemented by Robert Moses. The chief architect for the city’s planning efforts aimed to remove housing and sidewalks from the landscape by dividing neighborhoods with new highways and constructing new housing. Jane Jacobs, an urban studies journalist, observed that sidewalks served a critical role in cultivating healthy and safe neighborhoods. These plans did not account for the residents who make up the underlying fabric.

The same battle ensues in digital media when publications are pressured to put capitalist goals ahead of audience needs. Advertising revenue comes from a limited pool and Internet technology makes the market increasingly competitive. The environmental constraint encourages agencies to pander to the lowest common denominator. Doing so proves the most profitable approach.

Rather than reduce quality to maximize views, photopigs involves the audience with news-gathering and production. Editors engage with its community to determine what is most important to cover. Advertising demographics do not drive content. For the community, by the community.

As Jacobs observes, healthy and informed neighborhoods possess robust public spaces where citizens are highly-involved in the creation of culture.

Community launch coincides with content expansion

Feet extended on a dock on located on Lake Odell in Oregon shot for a photopigs series.
Explore all of Oregon is a series where Dawn Hewitt aims to explore the nooks and crannies of the state she loves. Community input determines some of the destinations visited for the project.

Publishing once per week allowed staff to find comfort in the process and provided sufficient time to determine best practices. Subject matter initially focused on the fundamentals of photography, like composition. Multiple new categories and features include additional topics such as rights and responsibilities, post-processing tutorials. Fun “fluffy” Friday essays and reports from citizen journalists covering the streets are scheduled.

photopigs continues work on composition and visual theories. Many new highly-anticipated features and series are in development. City History visually compares historical changes in urban neighborhoods and investigates their development. Practical Effects is a limited series that will appear during the month of October. An investigation into copyrights and how to prevent photo theft is also underway.

In addition to increased access to editors and behind-the-scenes coverage, photopigs also hosts places for activities, photo-sharing and socialization. Foto Friday is a weekly event where everyone posts on a chosen theme. In the summertime, the first scavenger hunt contest takes place.

Relying less on ads means greater audience support

Unfortunately, maintaining publishing and community platforms requires significant resources to sustain. Software subscriptions bills need paying and staff should be reasonably compensated. It takes significant time and effort to create a quality product. The revenue model that gives audiences supposedly free content is not sustainable in the digital world.

It is our view that the information currently available on the Internet makes it difficult to find comprehensive and easy-to-understand materials in one place. Anyone who wants to see photopigs continue producing content will hopefully consider becoming a patron.

For a minimum of $1 per month subscribers receive exclusive access to editors, hear about upcoming events first and increased access to giveaways. Eventually, an online shop where awesome gear is available will open.

When operating expenses are covered, revenue will be used to invest in resources that boost the quality and scope of our content. When all goes very well, photopigs plans to design a custom platform.

Will you help us build a community?


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