By Jim Colton
“Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.” -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Ahhhh, yes….a few sensible words! 3 years, and 61 Photo Journals ago, I launched a feature, where I was trying to capture exactly that...a few sensible words...and of course, not mine! I found that the secret to compelling content was to ask a few interesting questions…and then get the hell out of the way!
There are so many brilliant minds out there and people doing remarkable work. Some of the stories I wrote about were getting good visibility while others were flying under the radar. (Those were my favorites.) But what I discovered was that my brothers and sisters in this industry had important things to say…as well as having remarkable images and stories that needed to be shared. Hence the birth of Photo Journal, a name I revived from my Newsweek days when I created a free-standing photo essay feature of the same name. But for the time being, I am “shelving” Photo Journal.
I would be remiss, if I did not take the time to thank a few people who took Photo Journal from its infancy and nurtured it along for those three plus years. Thank you to the good folks at the National Press Photographers Association, who took a leap of faith with me when we inaugurated the column in November of 2012. Specifically to Don Winslow and Chuck Gathard who made this “photo guy” a better writer and a better journalist. And recently, to Scott Mc Kiernan at ZUMA Press who without hesitation supported the new zPhotoJournal. I’d also like to send a shout out to my son Ken Colton, who helped with the creation and design of the new web site and who was always there when this Luddite needed technical assistance. And a huge thanks to wifey Catherine Colton who proof read every Photo Journal before it was published!
And of course, it goes without saying, that none of this would have been possible without the generosity of all of the Photo Journal subjects. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your very busy schedules to have a chat, answer an email, send me images and in general…for letting this pain–in-the-butt into your lives and putting up with all of my idiosyncrasies, last minute requests and frantic phone calls! But on the positive side, as a result, I have gotten to know each and every one of you a whole lot better. And for that, I am blessed…and I love you all!
Some of you might ask why I am “shelving” Photo Journal. Well, it’s always best to go out while you’re on top! And, to be honest, it is a lot of work to prepare and produce. I am but one person. I do the interviews, gather and edit the photography, write and edit the stories and the Q&A’s, write the captions, check the credits, design the pages and galleries...well…you get the picture…literally! It’s a bear. But it is a labor of love (keyword: labor) because I am a stickler for detail and quality. I am extremely proud of EVERY Photo Journal I have produced…and especially proud of all of the zPhotoJournals that I also designed.
I’ve discovered that I am busier now in “semi-retirement” than when I was working full time! Early next year, I will conduct an “informal” survey, to see whether there is enough interest to see its return…AND…whether that commitment would include the possibility of financial support, through a crowd sourcing effort. And if any of y’all know a potential sponsor that might like to support it, all leads would be welcome!
Many of you have suggested that I put together a compilation of these Photo Journals into volumes or a book. So perhaps I could structure “tiers” in the crowd sourcing effort…one level for its continuance, another for creating volumes and a third for a book. Or maybe I’m fooling myself and there just isn’t that much interest in Photo Journal? We shall see.
Until then, here is a “look back” over the last three years as my way of saying thank you to each of the participants. In this vast sea of photography, I present to you pearls of wisdom from each of the 61 Photo Journals. Click on the thumbnails in the gallery to enlarge the images and to read each person’s “quote.” Click on their highlighted name and you will be taken to that specific Photo Journal. I start with the following from the last zPhotoJournal on Michael S. Williamson within the body of this interview…because…60 thumbnails look better than 61. #stickler
Lastly, I would like to send out a huge THANK YOU to all the Photo Journal readers and supporters over the years. Your kind words and encouragement have kept me going. Happy Holidays to all and may you get everything that you wish for in the New Year! Cheers, Uncle Jimmy.
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