One of the places that I’ve spent a lot of time online over the past few years is in the Flickr Group DeleteMe Uncensored. DeleteMe Uncensored is a group on Flickr where users submit photos to a voting pool and group members then offer brief critiques of these photos along with a vote to either save or delete the photo. If a photo gets 10 “saves” before 10 “deletes” it is put into a portfolio of images called “The Lightbox.”
There are probably two things to me that set DMU apart from other groups on Flickr.
First, it is one of the few (and was the first) “uncensored” group on Flickr. This means that admins don’t ban members, censor forum threads, lock threads, lock the entire group, etc. Along with the voting game there is a vibrant community of photographers who generally engage in all kinds of discussion from the super important to the super inane. Thoughtful threads about politics, photography, art, music and life are mixed in with immature threads about bad music videos, bad craigslist adverts, threads devoted to animated gifs, and well, you get the idea.
Second, the photo critiques in DMU are meant to be constructive, but no-holds-barred. Sometimes on Flickr you’ll post a photo and end up with a litany of “great shot” “wonderful” “beautiful” “nice” etc. type comments. And while those are pleasant and there is certainly nothing wrong with those, sometimes it’s also interesting to get more constructive criticism — even if negative, even if brutally honest. Having members point out your dust spots on your photo, or your bad crop, or your wrong angle, aren’t simply meant to talk down your photography, they’re meant to provide you criticism as a mechanism to improve.
What really makes DMU work more than anything else though is that it is a tight knit group of community photographers on the web. I’ve found that more than anyplace else I’ve seen on the web, people really get to know each other in this group. Many have met each other in real life. Many spend many hours a day hanging out in the group and chatting.
So I was super excited when one of the DMU Members, Ivan Makarov, proposed launching a DMU Magazine. There is something about seeing photos in print that makes them even so much more vibrant than what you see on the web. And after several months of planning and hard work, issue number one of DMU Magazine is launching today. I personally contributed a lot of photography to issue number 1. It’s probably the first time so much of my own work has ever been printed in one place. That was super exciting to me. In addition to a profile on my work as one of the top Lightbox contributers, I also contributed some other photos and the editors also included a feature section on my $2 portrait project.
The magazine itself is 72 pages long and is printed on full color paper in large format magazine quality. 26 different photographers from DMU contributed to it and it also features profile pieces on the top four contributors to the group’s “Lightbox.” The magazine is chock full of interesting photos by many outstanding emerging photographers. It’s exciting to me that in today’s DYI world that something like this is possible. Issue one of the magazine costs $13.99. It’s published by HP’s MagCloud and can be shipped anywhere in the U.S., Cananda or the U.K. The quality of the MagCloud magazines are very high. HP is really one of the top names in color printing today and they’ve put together a really top notch offering with this magazine service. The $13.99 price involves no profit for anyone involved in the publication of this effort. This is simply a labor of love by a bunch of talented photographers to publish our work. If you like photography I’d encourage you to purchase a copy and take a look at what we’ve produced. I’ve already purchased my copy and if you’d like to purchase one as well you can do that here.
A lot of credit goes to those who helped put this magazine together. In addition to all 26 photographic contributors (along with many people not featured in this issue, but who provided valuable advice and feedback during the development process) Ivan Makarov deserves a lot of recognition as the one who really drove this project from the beginning. In addition to Ivan, Charlotte Reynolds worked as the magazine’s designer, and Ingo Meckmann, Mo Tabesh, Wendy Martyn and Pierre Honeyman all worked as co-editors and publishers.
If you’d like to learn more about DMU Magazine, also be sure to check out its website dmumag.com.