I discovered photography in high school. I learned how to shoot black and white, develop the negatives, and develop the prints. I loved it. Once I hit college, I continued to shoot. I took a college level course in black and white and signed up for a darkroom monkey position. I gained 24-hour access to the lab. I learned how to mix chemicals.
Black and white photography was a necessity in my Graphic Design program. I learned how to composite typography and photographs using a stat camera and toxic sheets of a special film called Kodilith. I learned how to dodge and burn using light and pieces of cardboard, Goldenrod, and Rubylith.
Photography is time-consuming. There were design projects that would literally take days to complete. I think the longest I stayed up to complete a darkroom project was three days. By the end of that stint I had a bloody nose. The process, while time-consuming and sometimes hazardous to one’s health is rewarding.
I love digital photography but there is nothing like the process and qualities of film. That doesn’t mean I prefer one over the over in general. I am grateful for having such an extensive background working with film. I have a lot of respect for the history and will continue to shoot film until it’s no longer available, affordable, or until I’m no longer available.
Now, I’ll get to my point. Recently, Derek and Heather relaunched JPG Magazine. The site looks great. I signed up.
JPG Magazine began a few years ago. It began as printed magazine based on particular themes. It was open to everyone (and I mean everyone). Contributors sent their images based on the current theme. And some of the images were then chosen and printed in that issue. Me? I was drawn to it because they were taking an online art form and later creating a printed piece. And as a print designer, I can’t get enough of print.
JPG Magazine has changed a bit. It’s changed for the better. It seems that they’re leaning more toward a community Web site, while adhering to the old school, photographic ideas. The magazine still exists, but it’s much, much more.
One of the reasons I like JPG Magazine is that they adhere to the art form before it gets to Photoshop, which means contributors are asked to avoid manipulating their images. Techniques like desaturating certain parts of an image, adding overused Photoshop filters, blurring, adding text, or distorting an image are off limits. They just want good, unmanipulated photographs. When I taught at American University, I was constantly asking that my students try and capture what they wanted before taking the image into Photoshop. You wouldn’t believe how much you can accomplish before the image is “developed” or “downloaded”. Really. Another reason I like the new format of JPG is it’s kind of nostalgic for me; it’s sort of like sitting in a classroom again, checking out other work based on a given project, or, in this case, theme.
So, my friends, go on over and have a look. Sign up, too. It doesn’t cost a thing and they’re really great people who know really great people. Plus, I’m great people so you should do it to be with me.
Say hello to JPG. I promise, you won’t be let down.