JPG Magazine, which did a story (including interviews) on Camera Tossing in it's formative youth (Issue 6), has pushed another Camera Toss article amusingly titled Get Fresh With Us: "Toss Your Camera" in Issue 16. Apparently JPG thinks seconds are fresher than firsts? This one however takes the form of a very brief photo challenge posed to it's readers/photographers online, and a selection of voted/edited picks of the result. Basically it's the magazine version of my "Pool Picks" postings except with JPG contributers being the "pool", and without really providing any instructive context, history, or origins for the readers and contributors. Ironically there was a user contributed howto article on the subject linked from the challenge pages, but all that content was left unpublished in the printed article.
In it's original posted form, their challenge didn't even get the concept/definition of a Camera Toss correct. I mean really folks, it's not that complicated. A couple of senior members in our community took it upon themselves to get them to at least honor the original concept and change the challenge criteria. Viewing the incoming submissions it became clear that many of their contributors were also missing the point, so a handful of our 5,000+ community members took it upon themselves to submit high quality camera tosses in an effort to notch up the presentation of the concept. Even still, the final published selection included some that were obviously not a thrown camera. But, almost all who submitted from our community made the published version. Congrats to them and way to show solidarity, something this labor union member/advocate certainly appreciates! ;-)
(Left: by David Hull, Right: by Christian Kinzler, Lower: by Marce Garal)
Please don't read this post as a criticism of the photos/photographers actually published. Most were indeed camera tosses and many quite interesting to look at. I just feel the methodology for coming up with the content in the first place left a little bit to be desired in the way of substance and professionalism.
Many JPG articles were great back in the days before they restructured, and some of them continue to be quite good, but I came away from this feeling like they just needed some space filler? Which, in itself is fine, but if you wish to showcase a technique, you should either give some great instructions or display some top quality work (ideally both?). Why else would you publish it, unless, perhaps your only aim is to make your own contributors (a.k.a. paying subscribers) feel good about themselves?
So three cheers to Derek and Heather for honoring our little niche of the photography universe with their original article, instructions, and interviews! (View online here) This second time around? Not so much.
As for the current editorial staff of JPG Magazine. If you wish to produce "fresh" content. Figure out a way to get your article/theme contributors to do their homework. A little tried and true journalism wouldn't hurt either. I'm sure you would have had an amazing spread if you popped into our forums and solicited the community to contribute (exactly what was done for the Issue 6 article).
How's that for "getting fresh with you"? ;-) Maybe by fresh you didn't mean "snarky". Oh well. ;-)
Links Related to this Posting:
Photo Challenge: Camera Toss (and all submissions)
Photo Challenge: Camera Toss (published contact-sheet)
JPG Magazine Issue 16
Unpublished JPG user contributed HOWTO
JPG Magazine Issue 6 Article (instructions, interviews, commentary)
Camera Toss Group on Flickr