Today is November 2, 2012. On this day, 14 years ago, I started Photofocus. We didn’t call things blogs back then. In fact we didn’t have any idea what we were getting ourselves into when a few friends and I decided to start an “online photography magazine.”
Fast forward 14 years later, thousands of posts, hundreds of podcasts and many, many long nights, and I find myself with this massive volume of work and lots of gray hair in places where it used to be brown.
If you’ve been paying attention, you know that I have been more reflective in my posts over the last year. I’ve battled many obstacles which I won’t bore you with, but it’s become clear to me that I cannot do this forever.
So today’s announcement is simple. In exactly 365 days – one year from today, I will retire as the Publisher of Photofocus. I have already signed a tentative agreement with a major media company that will keep the site in place after I depart. I will from time-to-time contribute a post or two, or appear on a podcast. But a year from now, it’s going to fall to my pal Rich Harrington to take over the reigns when I leave.
There are bound to be changes. Some you may like. Some you may not. Heck – there’s probably some portion of you cheering my departure. Wherever you fall on that line it’s okay with me.
For 14 years I’ve done my best to help all of you who read this site get a chance to enjoy photography as much as I have over my long career. I will continue to do so for the next 12 months. I’ll continue to be candid, not pulling any punches, sharing my unfiltered opinion as I always have. (That’s the stuff that gets the haters hating.) But I may let you in on a few new secrets. There are lots of things that go on in the photo industry that nobody talks about. I may start talking about them because heck, what have I got to loose? I’m retiring. I can say or do just about anything I feel like saying or doing. Stay tuned for more on that front.
It is however of the utmost importance to me that the site remain helpful to anyone who uses a camera. So I will keep a watchful eye over it as best I am able. Millions of photographers have interacted with me via Photofocus or its adjacent social media accounts, workshops, sponsored speeches, etc. For the most part, it’s been very rewarding. Even the tough stuff has been valuable. I’ve learned a great deal about myself and who my real friends are. That’s been priceless.
I want to mention that I could have retired a long time ago, but I always said I’d keep doing this until I found something I wanted to do more. And I’ve found that thing – or things I should say.
I intend to live out my life-long dream of owning a professional racing team. I am going to spend some time in Europe and elsewhere pursuing that dream. I’m also going to start spending time growing a publishing business that helps photographers and others get information e-books and other related electronic media such as apps, webinars, online training, etc. I also want to help others get their work published. I plan to spend about six months a year racing and the other six on publishing-related work. Lastly, I’ll continue to work with startups in the technology and photo sector, offering consulting and fund-raising help because I believe in young people.
No matter where I end up you can rest assured I’ve done all I can to keep Photofocus in play. Rich is an able, talented, committed person who wants to help you grow as a photographer as much as I do. He and the team that comes alongside to help when we close the sale next year will be here for you, even as I move on to other opportunities and the “golden” years of retirement. (By the way – if what I’ve seen so far is any indication that golden part is kind of a misnomer!)
So today’s post isn’t goodbye, but it’s designed to prepare for that day when things change. We’re not going anywhere in the meantime. And in the next 12 months you won’t notice much, if any change. We’ll still publish reviews, news, tips, and tricks. The podcast will continue to air on the 5th, 15th and 25th of each month. Oh and yes there will be more contests. But this time next year, if you want to hang out with me you’re going to have to be in Monza, Italy or someplace else where they let grown men (who are still little boys inside) play with race cars that go really, really fast. You can email Rich for help with Photofocus after that date! My do not disturb sign will be hung on the front door from that day forward.
As always, when I hit this anniversary I am mindful that it didn’t arrive because of my work alone. Dozens of well-known, well-respected photographers have helped create content for this site and its related properties over the years. Still dozens more sponsors have helped on the financial side of things to make sure we can afford staff, bandwidth and enough money for late nights editing and creating content for all of you who are so gracious to share the time with us. I appreciate both groups so much.
Lastly, I want to thank all of you who have stood by me over the years. Through the easy stuff and the tough stuff, the vast majority of you have stuck with Photofocus through all of it. Our audience has grown steadily over the last 14 years and with any luck, we’ll keep growing. That is really quite gratifying to me and even a bit humbling. I am happy about it even if I don’t always act like it!
So in short – thanks. It’s our birthday and we’re going to take it easy today. Tomorrow we’ll be back with more photo-related content aimed at one thing – helping you enjoy photography.
Until then happy shooting.