The idea is elegantly 2.0: give the new breed of digital-technology-enabled pro-am photographers a place to showcase their work and then have the same community of photographers vote on the best photos by theme. So far, so 2.0, but nothing innovative. Here’s the radical step: take the photos chosen by the community and publish them in a print publication. Why? Because a digital rendering of an image on a computer screen is no substitute for a physical, glossy rendering of the image. Granted, that is a subjective, aesthetic judgment, but the publishers of JPG, the newly created 8020 Publishing, are betting that a lot of people think this way — a radical bet to be making in this “go digital or die” media environment. But rather than assuming all offline media will die, 8020 Publishing is trying to figure out what content will work long-term in offline media, and then marry that with the best of digital media and web-enabled community.
And unlike other user-generated content sites filled with silly, purile stuff, JPG is attracting, well…art (gasp! a value judgment!).
Whats so exciting here is that here, for what I think is the first time, a publication is letting the wisdom of the crowds determine what the most compelling imagery for the issue. Think about it, these guys let the readers decide what is topical, artistic and exciting. How Novel! The LongTail meets art and puts the critics and enthusiasts in control.
I am looking forward to more form 8020 Publishing!