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Staff member
Dear Members and Friends of

At the outset, let me thank all members for sharing your feedback and thoughts about the recent exclusive partner announcement. Today I would like to respond to some of your comments and share new guidelines in terms of the activity of commercial entities on the forum. I will do my best to be honest, direct, precise and realistic.

First of all, I would like to remind everyone that just a few months ago, we all faced the REAL possibility of shutting the forum down due to the lack of funding and resources. When Jack and I connected, we realized the monumental work ahead of us but we put everything on the line to save the forum including delegating some members of the Medium Format team to work on the SAVE- GETDPI project. Jack and the team have spent a lot of time to help us as much as they could during this transition period.

During this challenging time and our upgrading work, we have received tremendous support from many of you through public and private channels, for which I am very grateful. I cannot deny that some difficult choices needed to be made to save the forum and most importantly, make it grow and flourish.

The upgrade to new software was a risky proposition by itself but we decided to aim even higher. Knowing the old platform was no longer efficient, we made the bold decision to move the entire forum to a new platform. We hired a professional to help us with this monumental task. I assigned a member of my team to help as well. We managed to migrate all the data, including images, without many problems. Of course, discrepancies have occurred but only because some tools/programs were not exactly the same. There wasn’t always an equivalent so we couldn’t just transplant it. But overall, it was a success.

I took personal responsibility for all the choices and mistakes made during this time. If you feel any disappointment or critique, please direct it to me! I will do my best to tackle it and correct things.

Then there was the financial and human resource issue. Despite some generous donations from members for which we are very grateful, this forum needed financial support and the backing of a partner. The alternative was to introduce a subscription-based model, which was overwhelmingly rejected.

Here I will be painfully honest with you. The difficult situation with the forum was especially strange to me as I, and many of you, noticed the rampant activity of commercial dealers and entities who were advertising their products on this forum. Nobody is questioning the fact that many of them also shared valuable advice and technical support. Having said that, it is difficult or even impossible to find a FB group or external forum where anyone could openly advertise and promote their products without the permission of the moderators and/or owners. When we took over, I personally reached out to the main commercial entities operating on the forum. I knew that COVID had devasted the industry as sales disappeared almost overnight. I indicated that we were open to work with anyone on highly favourable conditions. After weeks of back and forth, it was Dave and his team at
Capture Integration who stepped up. Let’s be honest – everyone is feeling the impact of COVID, including them, but somehow they found a way to support this forum! I strongly believe that they should be applauded and supported by all of us for doing so. It is logical and just common sense to support Capture Integration! Most of you have agree as I am concluding from your emails and messages!

It is especially true as not much is changing on the forum in terms of our interactions and content. We can still exchange ideas, share our imagery and reach out to each other for help. No one is banned from the forum or rejected. Furthermore, we keep investing in the forum, expanding its reach and bringing some great content (I will share more details shortly).

At the same time, it is logical that we would set strong rules for all commercial entities operating on the forum. What I mean by commercial entities is commercial dealers and/or their official representatives who are posting product launches, products or links directly or indirectly to their commercial websites. Of course, monitoring such activity is very difficult due to the fact that the internet doesn’t make a clear border between commercial and social activity – it’s quite fluid and difficult to recognize in some cases. Somehow, on most FB and off-FB forums we all have a sense of what’s right and what is not right. From your reporting, it appears we all understand the situation, including when this fluid line is being crossed. Over the next few weeks, I will organize a group of moderators who will help with the group, mostly by facilitating and leading great conversations and the exchange of ideas but we will be watching for any commercial overreach on the forum.

I want to make it clear that no one will be banned from posting, sharing ideas or helping fellow members to solve technical problems. Yes, Capture Integration will receive our support and we will work with them to create channels for easier communication between members and the Capture Integration team. They deserve our support and I strongly believe that anyone who cares about the future of this forum will support them as well.

If you have any doubts about your post, please contact me or other moderators (I will list our new group shortly) and they will help you right away.

My personal focus will be to increase participation and attract new members. I have been vocal about this in many previous posts and I’ve discussed it with Jack on several occasions. This forum needs new members badly! We need to grow and attract a new generation of photographers and creators! For this, I am counting on your help. Please reach out to your photographic friends and urge them to join.

My team and I are actively working to bring new members, including some prominent photographers who could inspire and facilitate our conversations and showcase new ideas – not only based on gear. Your participation in threads and forums about creativity, inspiration and the craft of seeing is also crucial. We need more young people, more women and photographers from more photographic genres here.

Some of you have contacted me with great ideas on how to improve the forum. I am listening, taking notes and I am so thankful for this. Please feel free to reach out and share more. We shouldn’t be afraid to be bold and creative. One of the greatest challenges right now in terms of content is its organization. There are threads that comprise hundreds of pages, well beyond usefulness. Some great posts in those threads are being lost. There are also sections which occupy a lot of space but are rarely used. I would like to hear about your priorities and what you are looking for. I would also like to hear about your really bold ideas. Together we can make it the #1, most useful and professional photographic forum on the internet.

I am counting on your understanding and support!!! UP AND AWAY! :)🍾

Warm Regards,