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2013: That Was The Year That Was

A. D. Coleman, September 2013. Photo by Anna Lung.This marks the end of the fourth full calendar year for Photocritic International, which made its debut in June 2009. During the past 12-month period I’ve published 44 posts here (counting this one), slightly less than one per week. According to Google Analytics, as of midnight on December 31, 2013 this blog had served up just over 43,400 pageviews for the year, to over 23,500 unique visitors — 4,700 new readers plus more than 18,800 recidivist gluttons for punishment. Plus close to 27,000 posts delivered to PI‘s 610 subscribers.

That represents a substantial falloff from last year’s readership, which of course concerns me. The simplest explanation includes the facts that I published far fewer posts in 2013 that I had in 2012 (44 compared to 64), and covered no major-headline stories — unlike 2012, in which I responded at length to the dismemberment of the Polaroid Collectionthe 2012 presidential election campaign,” and the “subway death photo.” I control the frequency of my posts, but not the prominence of photography in the public eye and its relevance to the news of the day. Still, I’ve published 254 posts since this blog’s inception, and Photocritic International remains the most widely read blog by any critic/historian of photography.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the Inaugural swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the Inaugural swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2013. (Official White House photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

My first posts for the year wrapped up my coverage of Election 2012 with commentary on images of the second inauguration of Pres. Barack Obama in January ’13. Subsequent topics included the sources of artspeak and photospeak; social promotion and grade inflation in post-secondary art and photo programs; Robert Heinecken’s contributions to the medium; the Kennedy clan pimping J.F.K, Jr. to the media from childhood on, the first (but not last) First Family to use their offspring in this way; the question of photographers who replicate the work of painters (having previously addressed painters who work from photographs); the myth of the “photo community”; rude and unprofessional behavior from the Lucie Awards; an update on the “pepper-spray cop” meme and backstory; and the cultural significance of the “selfie” plague. Among other subjects.

Coming in 2014

My goals for this blog for 2014:

  • Add substantially to the selection of “legacy” texts from my own archive, to give the content historical depth.
  • Continue and expand the invitational Guest Posts (only one this year), to diversify further the mix of voices presented here.
  • Add to the existing audio and video files with QuickTime movies, podcasts, slideshows, etc., created specifically for this site.
  • Enhance the blog with such new features as online ebooks, PDF downloads, and more.

Meanwhile, some special thanks:

  • to the Guest Posters who have accepted my invitation to create new texts for publication here;
  • to those who’ve appended thoughtful public Comments, pro and con, that have enhanced my own probings and developed a genuine dialogue in this space;
  • to those who, privately and behind the scenes, have fed me leads and tips, pointed me toward valuable documentation, and otherwise facilitated my work and enriched these accounts (you know who you are, and your secrets are safe with me);
  • to my fellow bloggers, my journalist colleagues, and others who have quoted my posts and/or linked to them, thereby bringing new readers to this blog;
  • to Marlaine Noel of Sprint Systems of Photography, who made her company this blog’s first sponsor;
  • and to the small but important handful of people who have put their money where my mouth is, so to speak, by making cash contributions in support of this project.

I send my best wishes for 2014 to these people in particular, and to all the readers of Photocritic International. May the new year bring us something better than a smack in the face with a wet fish.

Support Encouraged

PayPal Donate buttonThere’d be more variety of content here (and more extras) if this blog had substantial financial support from its readers, or from more sponsors or advertisers, but that’s still not the case. So I allocate my limited resources as I see fit. If you want me to write on a topic other than the current main story, make a donation of $50 via the PayPal widget at the top of the right-hand column of any page of this blog. I’ll choose another subject for the next post, and — if you so indicate in a note accompanying your donation — will credit you as that post’s sponsor and link to a website of your choosing.

Total revenue from subscriber/reader donations via Paypal in 2013: $195, or $4.31 per post. My thanks to the four readers who made those contributions to the cause. I’d like to see that donation total rise to $1K in 2014 (the more the merrier, of course). You can make donations in any amount you choose. I also accept appropriate advertisements; email me for rates.

In 2012 I did receive unexpected support from two people who didn’t read the blog, but whose generosity I’ve allocated to it through 2013. Yoshio Kishi, publisher in the early ’70s of the short-lived photo journal Fox, gave me some out-of-print books from his library that I sold online; and Lyle Bongé left me a small but welcome bequest in his will. You’ll find them indicated as sponsors of assorted posts in 2012 and 2013. Lyle’s support will extend into 2014.

I also welcome support in the form of in-kind services from volunteers and interns. Specifically, I could use help from someone with experience with any of the following applications:

  • DreamWeaver (for general website management, html, CSS);
  • WordPress blogware (troubleshooting this and other WP blogs);
  • InDesign (assistance with several POD/ebook projects);
  • FileMaker Pro (database projects)
  • OCR/scanning (book projects)

If you have none of these skills, I can still put your time to good use doing picture research, bibliographic queries, and other chores.  Email me if working with me on this blog or other projects interests you.

I wish you all a happy, healthy, and productive 2014.

This post supported by a donation from the Estate of Lyle Bongé.

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