Got an email this morning that was quite shocking. Well, ok, maybe shocking isn’t exactly the right word. Unexpected, perhaps, would be a better choice.
JPG Magazine and it’s parent company, 8020 Media, are shutting down, citing “extraordinary economic times.” The site and publication will close up shop on Monday, January 5th, 2009.
I kind of don’t know what to say about this. At first I actually thought it was some kind of a joke, or like a bizarre new topic announcement. The subject of the email read, “JPG Magazine Says Goodbye” and I was thinking that it was just another automated email from them announcing that the next topic would be something related to farewell. You know, like “say goodbye to 2008! Upload your shots now!” or some such thing. But, sadly, it wasn’t. It’s no more JPG, at least not as we know it now.
The current economic climate is doing strange things to photography. For one thing, most galleries still have not come out of the “first big bubble.” Sure, we all denied there was a sort of “recession” going on for the past few years but, when you really look at the facts, a lot of people I know are either out of work or sort of “underemployed.” Yes, a lot of folks have (or had) jobs but they weren’t doing what they wanted to be doing, they were just getting a paycheck. And galleries? Galleries were hardest hit by this, in a way, since they had to also face the additional battle of going on-line and all of the new technology hitting them at about the same time. Sure, computers can save money, cut costs and all, but that’s only once you have them and they are in place and you’re comfortable using them. There’s a bit of a “learning curve” they sort of neglect to mention at your local computer super center.
But, there’s also another odd thing going on. In some ways, it’s better now for photography than it ever has been. Equipment is affordable and easy to obtain, retail prices of historic prints are continually breaking and setting new records, travel workshops are full (or filling up fast.) On some fronts, photography and the sort of art market for it is going full steam ahead. It’s hard to figure out what, really, if anything, is actually happening out there. More like it’s changing, the “dinosaur” is being re-defined, re-shaped, re-landscaped in new ways, almost like the nature of the media itself is changing.
It’s a strange climate this one is, but I do believe that it’s a good time to start or, you know, continue to do, your own thing. Feels like, to me anyway, it’s a great time to be either really established or, you know, just starting out with only one way to go from here.
I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on all of it. Please drop me a line, if you are so inclined.
Until next time…