Personal Post

What's the Deal with JPG these days?

What's the deal? I put up a picture on JPG these days, and one or two people view it if I'm lucky and over a few days or weeks a handful of people view it and some like it and some don't and ..... what I'm trying to get to is: is it worth it? In the "old days" (I was an early trouble maker here on JPG) there was A LOT of action. Not now. Is the business failing? I know it's not just me, because I've checked a lot of my (better more deservedly popular) friends here, and their response is way down, too.

So, my question to YOU is: are you getting enough back from JPG? And for the old-timers: what's changed?

Meanwhile, here are some of my pix. I never give up. Yet.

50 responses

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley said (4 Jun 2013):

    Lots of concerns about JPG Aaron. Yours just scratches the surface. Besides having many questions myself, I have also talked with several of the few participants left and found some disturbing reactions. Perhaps we should get together and find a way to start a forum.

    It is blatantly obvious that JPG is aware of the dramatic drop off in interest. Judging from the unusual amount of new members, they must have some Google ads or some other way to entice membership. Also, They are handing out Spotlights like candy on Hallowe'en.

    I love this site and what it has to offer. I think we need to find a way to work with management as a group and save it. Spotlights are not going to do it.

    Fabulous personal post!!!

  • Susan B. Griffith

    Susan B. Griffith   said (4 Jun 2013):

    Aaron, You are not alone in noticing this change. I've observed it, too. I agree with you and James. And it became a lunchtime topic last week with a jpger who's now happier with another website where work can be marketed in a more professional way than a spotlight and resulted in positive outcomes.

    Maybe people post with the idea that it will lead to gallery shows, publications and other opportunities and become discouraged when they realize this will not happen. If you do want something like that, then from personal experience, I suggest going the way of B&W Magazine publication where people from galleries and other publications do pay attention and weekly messages in my mailbox support its effectiveness.

    The site has many positives. It connects people from all walks of life and places on this planet and allows us a view through photographs of this multicultural world. Some of those discoveries are amazing like finding someone who lived in the same neighborhood, skated on the same river, and graduated from the same high school a few years before. Small world.

    Like all things, sometimes change is needed and maybe jpg is in need of trying a new approach to give its members a new challenge.

    You have my vote.

  • John Linton

    John Linton said (4 Jun 2013):

    I think JPG is trying to bring back members who haven't uploaded in a long time. They are often the photos they use as examples for their photo challenges and spotlights. I stay with JPG because it was the first photography site I joined (3 December 2007), but I spend more time on Flickr and Google+. Those sites allow all sorts of groups and that is where I find I get the most feed back because you are dealing with other photographers interested in the same thing (street photography, SPs, B&W, whatever). As far as feedback here goes I still get enough of it, but I think it is because I have the time to spend viewing, favoriting, and propping many of my contacts. I find that to be true of every site I'm on...the more time I spend looking at my contacts' photos the more time they spend looking at mine. Flickr and Google+ are also easy sites to navigate. I can upload photos without any problem...on JPG I have to wait 30 seconds because I use Safari. Both Flickr and JPG are suppose to send my uploads to Facebook, but only Flickr works (I have no idea why JPG doesn't work)...When I comment on JPG I have to wait 30 seconds before it will let me make another one...And one more thing about JPG...The spotlights have to be purchased...If they truly wanted people to get excited about the site again they'd let you spotlight anyone's photo for free.

  • Lynn E. Harvey

    Lynn E. Harvey said (4 Jun 2013):

    Hi Aaron,
    I was encouraged by a fellow JPG'er to take a look at what you had written and to overview your thoughts. Having been on and off JPG for 3 years, has now, lead me to be discouraged with their format. I have to believe that the drop-off stems from their overall Management perspective.

    I think any incentive that is left here, stems from fellow JPGer's continual respect for each other and as John, Susan and James have beautifully stated, it is about people connecting with each other, through their images.
    JPG had meant so much to me and I have, over a period of time, been very discouraged with this site? Now, taking a month break!
    As strange as this will sound, I actually Goggled JPG today, to see if there was any link as to their longevity, but to no avail.
    Your words are fantastic, as is your work.
    I more than applaud you for speaking out so eloquently and only hope this will spearhead a change.
    As James so aptly wrote..'Spotlights' are not going to do it! and charging for a 'Spotlight' is ridiculous!!!!
    Thank you!
    You have my vote!
    Lynn E. Harvey

  • John Linton

    John Linton said (5 Jun 2013):

    Further thoughts…

    What drew many photographers to JPG back in 2006 was the chance to be published. It nearly ended JPG in January of 2009 because JPG was originally a site with strict guidelines: no nudes, no Photoshop, etc. Members became frustrated when they couldn’t get published, when they saw photographers they thought were inferior getting more notice than they were, when they thought other photographers where using Photoshop to doctor their photographs. Many left.

    The new JPG allowed total nudity and Photoshop causing more people to leave. It also created spotlights and “Hot” photos, two new ways to frustrate photographers. I’ve never been published, but my contacts have been kind enough to give my photos enough attention that I have over 300 “Hot” photos. I’m sure there are JPGers that come across my page and wonder why such a mediocre amateur photographer has that many “Hot” photos.

    I also belong to other photography sites. I don’t upload on Aamora or RedBubble anymore because I found those sites too difficult to navigate. So I upload on Facebook, Flickr, Google+, and JPG. I find they all have the same thing in common; you need to make contact with other photographers if you want your photos to get any attention. These sites have thousands of members uploading thousands of photos a day. The chance of your photo getting any notice is small unless someone knows it exists. I’ve enjoyed making friends on all these sights. Their encouragement is why I joined and why I stay. I’d see no point in uploading a photo while never making a contact and never taking any notice of their photography. But the need to make contact can lead you down that road Bailey traveled. I know exactly what she is writing about and ended up making a very similar decision.

  • Kaki J. Luitjens

    Kaki J. Luitjens said (5 Jun 2013):

    I think we have all wondered the same thing. It sure has changed over the years and I am not fond of the direction JPG has taken. Not sure really what could be done about it. I did not renew my subscription this go around. John Linton has it correct though. If you spend lots of time commenting on other peoples photos you do get the feedback in return.

  • Steve Baker

    Steve Baker (Deleted) said (5 Jun 2013):

    It's definitely slow recently. I am no longer in Flickr because I was so disappointed with their "new look" and the fact that anyone who tried to discuss changes to it seemed to be banned. Bad form.
    I have yet to find anything that has the same feel that JPG used to, and am open to suggestions. Google+ doesn't really float my boat, and 500px never felt right either.

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (5 Jun 2013):

    I feel much the same way as John does. I agree that JPG has changed dramatically, however, change is inevitable in today's world, photography, along with everything else must advance. Personally, as I have shared with James I am not in photography to receive “Hot”, be published or any other recognition other than genuine good and bad input from both fellow photographers and the JPG staff. I have received one comment on my work indicating that my photo is awful and does not belong on JPG, which is fine, but the person did not go into any detail about his dislike of my photo which I would have appreciated. The comment remains on the photo. As an artist, I don't believe that our work should only bring praise, I believe that we have to acknowledge and be willing to accept criticism, good and bad; constructive criticism helps us grow. I also am not offended by people having a strong reaction to my work, such reaction in art, proves that your work has made a point, whether good or bad, it has achieved its goal. I also belong to Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr and I spend a little time on Google +, my preference is still Flickr despite the grand exodus from there with their recent changes. I agree that it is important to interact with one's fellow members and comment and fav. The activity on JPG does seem to have diminished recently and I assume that as so many members have left that is inevitable. Meaning it is up to us to make new friends in order to interact. However, I don't believe that any site is ideal and I wonder if it is possible to have such a site with the diversity of photographers and their wishes. I do believe that JPG should always be looking for new ways to change and improve their site. I also agree with John that JPG needs to change the 3 minute wait between comments, that is ridiculous, because sometimes I run out of time to comment. No other site has this problem. Even so, I too am remaining on JPG. I have voted for your story it encourages dialogue and hopefully improvement both by JPG staff and its members.

  • Joerg Schlagheck

    Joerg Schlagheck said (5 Jun 2013):

    Jpg has many advantages, but sometimes I feel that it is very little known outside this fairly tight knot community and it is definitely not suitable for someone who is looking for exposure. The photos just seem buried on this site. Having said that, there are some real gems for those who take the time to dig. Unfortunately people don't generally HAVE the time. It would be nice to have the option to sell downloads and perhaps even prints off this site. This would perhaps get more people to look at JPG.

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield said (5 Jun 2013):

    I look back at my photos posted a few years ago, and see that there are so many more comments than there are on recent posts. JPG seemed to have a real 'community' feel back then. For me, the change came about when they started allowing inappropriate photos; it seemed to divide the community. There were those who championed the idea and those who left because of it. I left for a while, but missed the camaraderie . Lots of folks left and never returned.

    I don't manage new learning well, so going to other sites is a real challenge for me. I post occasionally on RedBubble and have even made a few sales there, but I don't spend any time commenting and don't receive many comments. I think that enabling sales on this site might encourage more growth.

    I do agree that JPG requires a lot of give and order to get comments, you have to give them. Sometimes life gets in the way, and there simply isn't enough time. When that happens, the number of comments definitely falls off, although it seems the friends I've made on the site always make time to comment on my photos.

    I can't complain a whole lot, because 90% of my work is not straight out of the camera and definitely strays out of bounds of the rules. My primary reason for posting is to bring laughs, and I think JPG allows me to stretch the bounds a bit for that reason.

    I'll probably continue to post as long as I can think of new ways to bring a smile.

    Your story definitely gets my vote!!

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley said (5 Jun 2013):

    What JPG Needs

    There are so many terrific things about this sight that I love. From the fact that one can submit a photo essay to the fact that they have their own mini photoshop where you can make changes to photos that have been uploaded. Don't know of any site that has this and have used it occasionally just to take out a spot or adjust cropping...A wonderful tool.

    However, I have been a member since 2011 and besides the photoshop tool have seen only one other change since joining, that being adding 'likes' and 'dislikes' to the photo options which now include 'commments', 'props', 'favourites', 'likes' and 'dislikes'. Way too much. Just change for the sake of change. All that is needed is 'comments' and 'favourites'.

    So just the two changes since 2011. I think a major overhaul is needed. First, I would like to know who's running this site and what each person's resposibility is. I would also appreciate a fairly prompt response when I have a concern. When I did have a concern, it took four emails in eight days to get a response.

    The photo guidelines need to be changed. They state that any major photoshopping is forbidden. It obviously is not and as an old film guy, am glad to see some of the creative work being done with this new medium but CHANGE THE RULES! It's that simple. You are probably losing many potential members after they read this. Also get rid of the porn. There are thousands of places for this but JPG should not be one of them.

    Contests: They take forever. They need an open and closing date for submissions and votes. 'The Best Of' was there when I joined in 2011 and it's still there.

    Also, when you announce the final five days of voting on the blog, you don't put up five hand picked photos. They will likely get more votes in five days than any photo did in the entire run of the contest.

    Best Of: The nominations and votes occur in the same week. An obvious advantage to a photo nominated on a Monday to one nominated on a Friday, Satuday or in between. You need nominations one week and votes the next. I mentioned this to you a long time ago and was told it was a great idea. What happened? Nothing!

    Photo Challenges: Don't know who does the choosing here but think you need some outside professional help. As a professional photojournalist AND editor for over forty years, I find myself shaking my head every week when I see some of the choices and compare them to the rejects. I know professionals are usually glad to oblige when asked to help judge a competition. Why don't you give it a try?

    When it comes to the huge decline in interest, it is of course due to so many once enthusiastic participants leaving the site. Naturally, you need to be active with comments and favourites in order to get feedback. However, I am as active now as I was a year ago but a year ago I rarely received less than 100 views and sometimes up to 7 or 800. Now, possibly 40 to 60, sometimes more but rarely near 100. Who knows, perhaps the work I'm submitting now just isn't as good as it was. Oh well!

    I am glad to see that you are seeking out new members, probably with Google ads. A great idea which will hopefully produce some new enthusiasm and participation. However, I think it is a must that JPG give itself a shot of enthusiasm and make some changes!!!


  • Litz Go

    Litz Go said (5 Jun 2013):

    I know lots of jpgers read or will read this but only few will post their comments. Why? Is it because it is easy to read that write? Or is it easy to ignore than notice? I don't know. I think it is the same situation with the photos we upload. We see many who viewed them, but only few really leaves a note or click to fave.
    I love and agree with all the comments here but I definitely agree with what John pointed out. If you wanted to be notice, you have to spend time noticing others , too. I think JPG is an interaction site. We need to interact with our fellow JPGers.
    I hope your personal post will get some great result and answer the questions that we all are waiting to be answered.
    This is really an interesting post and you got my voted!

  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda (Deleted) said (5 Jun 2013):

    I have been with JPG since 2007. I have never been published, I believe JPG has spotlighted my image for free one single time. I was never under the illusion that I would be able to sell my work, rather, I love the people I have met over these years. I don't know them personally, but yet I do ! I comment and favor because I truly find something beautiful, unique,creative, or simply because people are trying .

    I am here not for JPG, but for the great people I have come in contact with. It is an interaction as Litz and John have both stated. It is like life, you get what you give basically...Sometimes you get lucky and someone will really notice your work, but most of the time , it is the pleasure I get from people and the pleasure I get from viewing other's trials, errors and accomplishments.

    I am on Red Bubble, I am faithful to that site, love the people there as well, and have sold my work. JPG is the first site I was on, I feel it is like a parent, it is home in a way. I spend less time here than previously, but am not leaving at this time.

    Maybe JPG can have a good makeover and compete with other sites, I have faith they can. So I will stick around, let's see what happens.

    Thank you for opening up this discussion, I agree with James, a forum would be great.

    Have a great week everyone !

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley said (5 Jun 2013):

    I'm with Elfriede. She has put it so eloquently. Despite the faults with the site and the apparent reluctance to fix them, I am on JPG mainly for the "the pleasure I get from viewing other's trials , errors and accomplishments." I enjoy the time I spend here (which is a lot) and mostly enjoy finding work that I want to favourite, whether it be the latest masterpiece or just something I like for any reason.

  • Ted Anderson

    Ted Anderson (Deleted) said (5 Jun 2013):

    A JPG friend recently mentioned Aaron’s post, and the subsequent comments from other members, so I’ve dropped in. It’s been a revelation to read so many heartfelt, eloquent remarks. I’ve been on a JPG hiatus for a number of reasons and, a few months ago, signed on with 500px for a different perspective. The variety there is almost overwhelming. So many talented artists, so many images to see. One can post an image and expect a dozen comments within the first hour or so. I’m enjoying the interaction, but I don’t feel that I “know” anyone from the site.

    I’ve never met another JPG member in person, but if I were asked to choose a handful of fellow photographers to spend a long weekend with, taking photographs, perhaps with a bit of wining and dining thrown in, they’d all be JPGers. Perhaps it’s the relatively smaller membership, or the length of time that I’ve been a member, but I suspect it’s just something about the site itself. JPG certainly has its issues, all of which have been addressed so well here, but the site has a more personal aura about it, and I like the “pen pal” communications I’ve had with several members. I feel that I do have friends here, people who take time to look at posted images, and make honest comments.

    The rethink/ refresh period will continue for a while, but I have no intention of leaving. For me, that would be quite a loss.

    Thanks, Aaron.

  • diana a

    diana a said (5 Jun 2013):

    had to think about this for a bit...
    i want to thank you, aaron, for bringing this up as a story. i hope it gets this issue out there to more jpgers as well as the admin so we can get back to what we once were.

    i joined in 2009 at the recommendation of a co-worker to promote his brother's work. i immediately became addicted to the fabulous images i was seeing and spent hours on the site. with a life long love of photography, i felt like i found a place to learn and grow.

    next thing i knew, i was drawn into a wonderful group of people who became a lifeline during difficult times. i didn't "know" these people but they encouraged, advised and made me smile. these people have since become family. i've met and spent glorious days walking, talking and photographing with them. jpgmag was what brought us together.

    in 2010, i fought along side these friends to save this site when it looked like it would go under. jpgmag was saved! and lost... i left in disgust at what i was seeing, what my pre-teen grandson was seeing. and after a year away and missing the interactions with my friends i returned, but it wasn't the same. too many have left.

    i check in every day or 2, i fav and like photos that speak to me. i post occasionally. the community feeling is gone. i stick to my contact's photos so i don't come across something i don't want to see (and it happens more often than it should).

    i hope that jpgmag can come back, that it can be what i found when i logged on the very first time.

    thanks again aaron! voted!

  • John Linton

    John Linton said (6 Jun 2013):

    I don’t think JPG owes us anything, but I understand the concern Aaron has. There are many who don’t want to see JPG fail. Many of us remember when it almost did. Many of us also miss many of our friends who have left JPG. I’ve been fortunate enough to find many of them on Flickr.

    As you can see from my Monday photo uploads I don’t think there is much difference between the attention I get on JPG and the attention I get on my other sites:





  • James Wiley

    James Wiley said (6 Jun 2013):

    JPG does not owe us anything. However, if they wish to stay alive they owe it to themselves to MAKE SOME CHANGES! Something much more than handing out Spotlights.

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley said (6 Jun 2013):

    Bailey, thanks for another book. Always enjoy reading your books. If you think everything on this site is fine and doesn't deserve criticism, you are blind. The site is dying and yours and all of our work will die along with it unless there is at least an attempt for change and suggestions from anyone should be welcome by managemement.

  • chuck vona

    chuck vona   said (7 Jun 2013):

    Very interesting comments from all. These interchanges and the ability to send personal notes to a few contacts is exactly why I am here at JPG. Over the years I've learned one thing about my photography and that is, when I submit a photo for review, either on this site or a camera club, to a contest or for review by a professional at a clinic, I am sure one person likes the work, me..Yes it's great to get a that-a-boy from my friends but for me it's a about taking photo's.
    One point ot consider; Flickr in owned by Yahoo, Tumblr is soon to be owned by Yahoo, Google+ by Google. To my knowledge JPG is still an LLC. It could be, they are also changing to attract someone like Amazon?? So, be careful about wishing too hard.
    When it comes to nudes, I simply keep my filter on at all times and that's the end of that. Photoshop is the new photography, like it or not it is here to stay. No, Ive never been spotlighted by the JPG staff ( lets get with it guys ) I'm ok with that.
    Great comments from all, we are a diverse group, that is why I enjoy looking at your uploads.

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes gave props (7 Jun 2013):

    Thank you Aaron for posting this essay. I’m glad you haven’t given up on JPG. Love how you see the world; love your work. I’d be most unhappy if you decided to leave our community of artists and friends within JPG. I joined JPG back in 2008 when I lived in an isolated Italian farm house, about forty miles north of Rome. Not only have I learned so much through viewing photos here, but have made some wonderful friends. Those connections and a sense of community for me play a big part in coming back here daily, except for brief periods respite. Also I continue to value the ability to post photo essays and articles here; still appreciate the layout of JPG and this site’s ease of navigation. That said, I’m all for positive change and open discussion, knowing full well there is simply no way to make everybody happy. Like a number of you, I recently experienced a reduction in views and comments, but mostly from some of my contacts I made years ago. I’m now receiving an increase in both from new contacts. Certainly mismanagement within JPG could account for the drop-off of activity on JPG, but things also naturally fluctuate. Plus we’re such a plugged in society. My head spins over just the number of photo sites to choose from. I’m also an active member of Redbubble and Garland Eyes. Have made a number of sales via the first and growing friendships within the second, where members actually meet once a month, but JPG still feels most like home to me. As long as that feeling continues and as long as I feel I can continue to grow as a photographer through viewing spectacular works of art here, I’ll remain at JPG.

  • kil roy metters

    kil roy metters said (8 Jun 2013):

    well someone touched a nerve............Aaron.........i don't rember how i came to JPG, it probably after i'd been thrown off photosig for the umpteeth time.SW and her band of storm troopers...i mean adminstrators run that site with a iron hand...the friendly nature of the JPG communityis what has kept me one attacks your photos in a retalitory manner because of what you may have said about a certain image.....the ironic thing about Aaron's story is it brings out the same people who do most of the commenting on the weekly themes and who are generally the most active on this site..wiley/griffith/linton/cooper/vona/harvey.....i'm sure donna mullins is collected her thoughts right now...does anyone have stats on membership??....i'm hanging cause this is way to much fun

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley said (8 Jun 2013):

    Well, just one more suggestion other than a suggestion of making changes to things that already exist. Since it is the major participants that are leaving the site in droves, possibly it is time for a revamp of the front page. Instead of bad to great shots in photo challenges, What about a page of excellence...A page that celebrates the best of the best. However, I'm thinking that in order to qualify, you must receive a minimum number of favourites from peers. This may encourage more participation, which is the major need, As it has been said over and over again, participation invites participation. Just another thought to save this great site!

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley said (8 Jun 2013):

    Please Bailey, no psychological analysis of my comment. It is just another suggestion and there is no deep psychological meaning behind it!

  • Justin Case

    Justin Case   said (9 Jun 2013):

    Hey all... I know that a lot is underway at JPG.

    There was a lot going on around the cessation of the magazine in 2011 and lots from the early days that needed to be rebuilt on the platform that runs the site. A lot of that work you can't see, but needed to be standardized and rebuilt before new stuff could be built. The team is bringing together new content and contributors to help 'inform, inspire and educate' and there is also talk of a new 'online and tablet' 'magazine' as well as new look/design.

    Your comments and feedback ARE being read and 'heard' as well as discussed by the team. Obviously, JPG can't be everything to everyone... There are lots of great sites to sell your work and - of course - Google+, Facebook and Flickr are all very different types of sites that JPG won't try to be or compete with.

    JPG is about community and about helping photographers discover and appreciate images and photography itself. Keeping the same focus, though, from the old days of helping users/contributors be recognized and rewarded for great work is also still a very important element.

    Lots more to come, so please keep the dialogue running!

  • Toby Morrison (JPG Admin)

    Toby Morrison (JPG Admin)   said (9 Jun 2013):

    Hey all I wanted to chime in and let you know that we are listening to all your posts, thoughts, and feedback. We are busy here at JPG headquarters planning and building new and exiting changes that will continue making JPG an amazing place to share and view photos. Lots of new and exciting things to come!

  • Jason Platt

    Jason Platt said (10 Jun 2013):

    Great discussion. Awesome that JPG staff has stepped in and given a response as well! I am really not one for being a wordy guy. I prefer to let the pictures do the talking but since joining this fine site way back in 2007 have indeed seen an ebb and flow with many changes during that time. I am quite thankful that this site continues to exist and always greatly appreciate the time spent by my friends made here in looking at my stuff, clicking favorite, and commenting. I am invested in this site and will continue to be as long as it is up and running. I even feel guilty when I favorite a photo but do a quick drive by and dont comment. In viewing thousands of great pictures from this site I know and can see through my own work how it has "impacted" my photos.The community I experience here matters to me but if I were to lose that Im not so sure I would want to hang around...

  • Donna Mullins

    Donna Mullins (Deleted) said (12 Jun 2013):

    Man oh Man! Lots going on here.Since this is the only photo site that I have ever been a part of, I have nothing to compare it to. Viewing and comments go up and down like a yo-yo on my site.They always have.

    We all post photos that we like or obviously we would not post them. We share them and hope that others will find some enjoyment in them too.
    I realize that the activity here on jpg is really slow. I don't know why,and I don't have the answer. My guess is that other sites may have more to offer,or people have just grown tired of jpg for whatever reason.Like I said, I don't have anything to compare it to since I have never been on other photo sites. I enjoy the photography and fun folks here. It's not a perfect site by no means, but the good far outweighs the bad to me. I'm sticking around.

  • Donald Garrett

    Donald Garrett said (12 Jun 2013):

    I haven't read what anybody else said, but do know that as a long-time member of JPG, I am NOT happy with the way things have been since they quit publishing the magazine. I have a considerable log of photos on this site and don't really wish to go elsewhere! Give me time to read some of these (I'm back to be a professor for a few days) and maybe I can make an intelligent comment!

  • Margaret Waage

    Margaret Waage said (16 Jun 2013):

    I think JPG is now one of many sites that offer a place for posting and being with other like-minded photographers. 500px, Smugmug, Fickr - after a while there's too many sites offering similarly purposed platforms. Yes there are differences between the sited, but overall the goal is the same - to show work and have a dialogue.

  • Tracey Quinn

    Tracey Quinn said (17 Jun 2013):

    I am new member to JPG. I recently took a beginner photographer class through Nite-Life where I learned to begin shooting outside of auto mode. I enjoy photography and freezing bits of time a great deal and I look at everything now as if I had a lens to my eye. I was drawn to JPG after seeing a post from a friend on Facebook. I am not here on the grand expectation that I will be published or sell anything. What I missed most about my class was the feedback and constructive criticism and was hoping to find it here. I am very discouraged also by the fact that there seems to be little to no activity. I want to grow and learn and find a community to do that with. So far it hasn’t met my expectations, however this is the first place I have tried to land my feet. I am not giving up on you all, however I am getting a bit discouraged as well.

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen said (19 Jun 2013):

    I for one am very happy on JPG ....For me it has been a learning experience and it is an outlet to be enjoyed...I love it here. I think
    it is wonderful there are sites like this who offer us the space
    to post our work and I appreciate it very much. I love the
    challenges and the themes and look forward to them.

  • Ann Reece

    Ann Reece gave props (20 Jun 2013):

    Like Andrea I am happy on JPG. But it does feel like it is dying and that makes me sad. I have made many friends through JPG, friends that I will never get to see in person, yet friends that I treasure. We came together out of our love of photography and to get feedback on our photography. When the ‘new’ JPG saved JPG when the former owners were closing it, I was one of the people who signed the petition to save JPG which circulated far and wide for signatures, and an interested group jumped in and saved JPG. We were ecstatic. Then came the news that all photos were allowed, even the offensive ones. We began to see pornography on the site, which offended plenty of us. Many members left in droves, me included. But, I did leave my site intact while I was gone. I came back after many months, I missed my friends that were still on JPG. I tried other photo sites and some were very hard to navigate, others were lacking any feeling of community and friendships like JPG does. I was glad that Toby Morrison, one of the JPG staff, added a comment that they are listening. That gives me hope that JPG can recover before it might completely fail. I love doing the challenges and themes, they have helped me to become a better photographer. However, so many people do not follow the description of a challenge or theme and post just any photo in it. Yes, I have been guilty of doing it once or twice when I did not have a photo that fit the theme as stated and I felt bad about doing it. I will not ever do it again, if I cannot find a photo that I took that fits the theme, then I will just have to miss out on entering it. The best challenge, in my opinion, is the 1/365 challenge that started in 2009 (and it is still an active challenge to take). It is stated in the description to take a self portrait every day for a year. It was a hard challenge to do, but I learned so much about my camera and myself by doing the whole year and putting my daily photo online for everyone to see. Now, if anyone posts in the challenge, they put just one photo of anything - a sunset, beautiful flower, an animal or such, just to get into the challenge. I do not know exactly what could revive JPG and I hope that others have more ideas on what they want that would work to revive JPG. For what it is worth, I put my two cents worth in on wanting a few truly challenging challenges and any people who do not follow the directions will have their photo removed. That is only fair to the ones who do follow the directions - including me! There is more than challenges that are ailing JPG. Hopefully more JPGers can offer what they think will help and JPG can once again become the great community that it once was.

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley said (22 Jun 2013):

    I'm with you Ann and am also guilty when it comes to not following the description. I actually submitted images that do not conform but are an offshoot of the strict rules of the challenge. I have done this deliberately to 1) See what reaction I get, and 2) Leave a hint that possibly some of the challenges should be a little more open for interpretation. I think this would produce a much better selection and promote more interest in the themes.

  • Kelly Nichols

    Kelly Nichols said (24 Jun 2013):

    Perhaps there is just too much thinking going on. Personally, I like this site better than the others offered online for its streamlined appearance. I don't like "noisy" sites where photos are not the main focus. I find this site nice and clean, which appeals to my aesthetics. As for the comments and props....personally I don't comment or prop any photo unless I truly find it to my liking. I agree with Bailey Cooper. Although I have made some great on-line friends here at JPG that I truly enjoy "chatting" with from time to time, I will not favorite or comment blindly just for the sake of that friendship. I believe in constructive criticism and will offer my thoughts or kudos to that end. There is not a problem with JPG in and of itself. There is a problem with the standards. John Linton has a great point in that if you don't spend the time commenting and viewing others' work, you won't get much in return. You have to give in order to receive sometimes. Most of us don't have the time to spend hours on this site, so when someone comments on my work, I simple click on their name to see what they've done lately. If I like it, I let them know. Easy. Now, back to my point about standards. Whereas, I love that JPG now accepts Photoshop work. This really give true artists a chance to show their skills and there is some truly inspiring work being show here. There are some very talented photographers on this site and then there are those that bombard the site with repetitive photos (of street signs, storefronts, sports events, etc.) that need to be mindful and choose only their best and/or favorite out of those multitudes to subject to JPG. These are the photos that litter the pages and conceal the truly great photographs. You wonder why no one comments as much....well, I think it's a matter of how much time the average person has to dedicate to the site. How much time the average member has to scroll though others' work and leave comments. It's also about the "fluff" the average member must wade through in order to get to the meat of the site. In closing, I don't feel JPG is in any way offering less than it should. For this one, I think we, the photographers, are to blame. Take a closer look at your work and that of your friends' here on JPG and that of those who use this site to upload their "snapshots". Rock on, JPG. I love you just the way you are.

  • Kelly Nichols

    Kelly Nichols said (24 Jun 2013):

    Another point....I feel that JPG is not just about comments and likes and hot photos. It's about the sense of community and sharing a few words with like-minded people. I feel like this is a neighborhood of sorts and I love being a part of that. Where else can you drop in on a friend halfway across the country? It's a way to travel vicariously over the world without leaving your seat. So what if I don't get a lot of comments and the like. I know that I can come here to share a friendship or two.

  • John Tanner

    John Tanner said (23 Jul 2013):

    I've been a member since Oct 2007 and this site is nothing like it was when I first joined.
    Susan Littlefield hit the nail on the head.
    The big decline came when JPG violated their own original rules that we early members agreed to.

    A few years ago a certain photographer grossly violated the rules posting what many members felt was pure filth.
    Many of us protested to JPG and were told if we didn't like it we could leave and JPG was not going to censor anything.

    I know several very talented artist who did leave the site.
    A few have since returned but most haven't.
    When I first joined this was a family oriented site that members could share with their children and grandchildren.

    Once full blown frontal nudes were allowed that was the end of that.
    It's just my opinion but I believe it was the "take it or leave it" attitude of JPG when members protested the rules violations that has damaged the site.

    I still post here but nowhere near as often as I once did.
    The original atmosphere that made this site great is clearly no longer here.

  • Herman Vandecauter

    Herman Vandecauter (Deleted) said (19 Aug 2013):

    Hi Aaron, and other dear old friends,
    I was here on jpg long time ago and indeed it was worth to be here and for the same reason as you mentioned I went away for at least 2 or 3 years now. Without thinking to much I came back some days ago to see if things has changed! It seems to be not the case unfortunately :( I have much more visitors and followers on facebook.

  • Cindy Romero

    Cindy Romero said (20 Aug 2013):

    Interesting commentary. I understand the experience of adapting to change when we feel there's been a loss in quality of experience. As a newcomer, I have no other experience for comparison but taken for what it seems to be in this moment, I appreciate in this JPG site the opportunity to share my passion and delight with capturing images. I appreciate that there is room for all of us, relative kindergarteners, like me, to fine art and well equipped, highly skilled photogs. I appreciate the warmth and supportive nature of the community. I wish I had more time to make more thoughtful comments, but just having an opportunity to pop in and be refreshed in viewing images from so many differing perspectives, around the world and back, varied styles and perspectives, whenever I have a spare moment has been a truly special and wonderful experience for me. And to receive kind encouragement from others who share this passion has been very enriching for me. I understand that this site may not be what it once was, but few things really are. I appreciate the opinions expressed, and am adding mine as a fresh perspective on the current experience of this relative newbie. Thank you all, for sharing your words and images and community interaction. Thank you for holding this place as open and welcoming. Perhaps there is need for structural and functional improvement, but the sense of community truly shines, so beautifully!

  • Lynn E. Harvey

    Lynn E. Harvey gave props (20 Aug 2013):

    Hi Aaron, I am writing another comment as an add-on from my origianl prop. I love the people and sense of community. What still mystifies me is how the voting is done for any of the weekly incentives? I love that this forum that you have created is still open! You have my vote again!!

  • Andrew Dutton

    Andrew Dutton (Deleted) said (22 Aug 2013):

    Hi Lynn...I was wondering how so many member of the week selections are of non participating members (only a few photos and no stories, no favorites, no collections and no contacts), so I sent JPG a message and they replied saying they select the member of the week from the pool of nominees, I guess our yes votes don't count.

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley said (22 Aug 2013):

    I don't think votes count for anything on the site!

  • Mike Melnotte

    Mike Melnotte said (22 Aug 2013):

    I'm really glad to see this discussion. I cancelled my JPG+ auto-renewal because I found everything here...waning....essentially. Not sure how else to put it. I will ALWAYS be part of this site and the people here are really great. I love the range of talent and perspectives. JPG has done so much to help me get more confident with photography. One thing that I can say for sure is that I'm spending more time on the National Geographic Yourshot page and 500px because the layout and image presentation is so much better there. Sorry, JPG. I do think it's time for a site redesign. I won't be far away, but I definitely don't spend the time I have in the past until I see some changes. Good to see/hear y'all out there!

  • richardbrucesmith

    richardbrucesmith said (27 Aug 2013):

    While this site may not be perfect and I give thanks to all who are commenting to improve it .I have to thank everyone who has supported me over the years the joy I have received from
    a comment or favorite has kept me moving forward.
    Cheers to all.

  • Pedro Teixeira

    Pedro Teixeira said (30 Aug 2013):

    In fact I also feel that jpg is getting moribund and even in the terminal phase.
    the first time I had contact with the site jpg was through a photography teacher who in 2002 showed me one JPg magazine
    to show me other photographic streams
    And I've never forgotten the fantastic photos that I saw there and which I am influenced and motivated to shoot more and more.
    One of these days here at home in a conversation with my wife I commented this site right now reminds me of an old ship which once sailed gloriously
    and at this point it just seems an old ship navigating on autopilot completely drift.
    Displeases me too that when I have a doubt and I contact those who drives this site and I do not get any response from them.
    For several times I question if I should continue here.
    Aaron Schwartz,congratulations for this work.I never thought there were so many members here with the same type of discomfort
    and sincerely I hope that the staff of the site Jpg learn something with this work/opinion article and all opinions here left by all respectable members

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (1 Sep 2013):

    I fully agree with James Wiley ... sometimes without any comments JPG make the picture for publication or Chosen as a Hot Shot!!! Displeases me too that when I have a doubt and I contact those who drives this site and I do not get any response from them.

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley said (9 Sep 2013):

    Very difficult to get a response Saroj. You have to be very persistent.

    To change the subject, Have I missed something? There were two voted catgories that have been on the site for about a year (Starry Nights and Ripple Effect). Have the results of these been posted?

  • Heather Mellon

    Heather Mellon   said (13 Sep 2013):

    A great photo-essay, Aaron.. and I`m glad to see it nominated for story of the week!

    In regard to pictures and stories of the week.. I have only one suggestion to add here and that is to know WHY the JPG staff choose the winners they do. I`m not here to argue against their choices but it might be helpful to wannabees like me to gain better insight into what makes a winning image. Otherwise I feel a bit like I`m walking away empty-handed with nothing learned in the process.

    Obviously, there are cases where an image or story simply outshines everything on the nominee list.. but that isn`t always the case. Many times I suspect that it was a difficult choice to make and I would greatly appreciate knowing what features of the image or photo-essay made it the winning selection.

    Does that seem far out or naive of me? I hope not, it`s just the way I feel about this issue. I`m here to share my view of life and to appreciate and enjoy your views of life.. but I also came here to learn.


  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh (Deleted) said (29 Oct 2013):

    Dear Aaron,
    Thanks for this enlightening post! I wondered why I wasn't getting seen anymore & being an old time artist, I took it personally! hahaha.

    Yes, I vote for photo & stories of the week & they rarely win ...I used to feel welcome here but that's dwindled to a few fav ppl so I now post elsewhere too. So I guess it's all the site & how it circulates our photos?

  • Geir Danielsen

    Geir Danielsen said (23 Nov 2013):

    What the thing with jpg november 2013....
    as a member since 2008 i,ve been away for a cople of years...i always liked the consept of jpg...but this time ??
    where are the creative ones..the people....the good work?
    i,m hangi,n in here,but i don,t think its for long anymore..
    pity..the consept is good

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