You can now expect more…

You can now expect more…

from this blog…

HERE’S THE SHORT VERSION:

A little under two years ago I started this blog with a post titled “The Cloud is Falling.”  I then went to cover the Olympics for Newsweek which helped to increase readership – and then I posted a little video called “Reverie” on this blog.   And everything changed from that point on – for a lot of us.

Since then – nearly 5,000,000 visitors have graced us with their presence.   And at times this blog has utterly overwhelmed me.   In the months following Reverie or Nocturne – it was not uncommon for me to wake up each morning to more than 500 e-mails in my inbox from fantastic people from around the globe. (This number would not include junk mail.)

The problem was: My staff and I simply could not keep up.   We were missing jobs left and right as they were becoming buried amidst the hundreds of e-mails.  This blog’s readership is now north of 150,000 people per month.

At one point – I considered ending the blog.   And then I realized that I couldn’t.  This community is far too special to turn one’s back on.   I’ve simply met far too many interesting people in the past few years – and any single one of them alone would justify continuing the blog.  This HDDSLR movement is a bona fide thing – not just a flash in the pan.

So now I’ve come to the following conclusion:  I need a little help from some friends to keep this blog healthy.   I’m not able to focus on my career to the degree that I’d like to AND simultaneously focus on producing regular content for you all on this blog – let alone to be a husband and father to two young wonderful children.    In this case, those friends are the “supporters” illustrated above.  I’ve formed great relationships and friendships with the people at these companies and use their products on a regular basis.

Therefore, a little over a month ago I went to them  and asked if they’d help support this blog in a non-traditional manner (more on that below).   In effect these companies are contributing to help me hire someone to manage this blog.   Every post you will see on this blog will continue to be written by me – that’s something that is essential to me.   That new person (a young buck by the name of Justin Hamilton) will simply be there to help me grab the relevant graphics, links, check my spelling, and to shoot and edit the videos you will see as a new feature of this blog.   For those of you who run your own blogs – you know that it’s not uncommon to spend 5+ hours to shoot, edit, grade, EQ and post a video – that runs all of a whopping 2 minutes on the blog…

My goal is to keep this blog as close to what is has been over the past few years – but to add more content to it with Justin’s and the above “supporters'” help.

So that’s the short version – below is the longer version for those who have been regular readers all along.  It will cover a lot of the pertinent questions you might have btw.

The LONG VERSION:

No one is getting rich here.   The above supporters have been very generous – but the idea is not to make a profit from their sponsorship.  100% of their support is going towards employing Justin – and if anything, you can thank the above companies for helping me hire someone in this not too stellar economy of ours.  If we have a surplus – we’re going to go out and shoot something cool with it for this blog.

For those of you who have been around since the start of this blog – I never got into this blogging thing to make money.  I do this because I love to share – and to learn from others in return.

Second: ethics and conflicts of interest.   That’s a BIG one for me.  Perhaps the biggest thing for me and what has stood in my way of making this move for close to 2 years.

I NEVER wanted to have advertisements on this blog and there won’t be any.  I don’t want my blog to look like “Times Square” with blinking ads all over the place.   Some of you may know that I used to be a staff photographer at The New York Times  (did you know that Times Square was named as such because The Times building was there originally btw?) and that ethics and conflicts of interest were something that the NYT has always been very much focused on.

In fact, Canon asked me twice to be one of their “Explorers of Light” while I was still on staff at the NYT – and I had to turn them down because the NYT (to their credit) simply would not allow the obvious conflict of interest.  And I admire the NYT for having such policies. (But try to put yourself in my shoes…how would you feel having to turn down such a request once, let alone twice!)

Which brings me to the following point:  the “supporters” listed above – are a very special group.   Those companies are run by people I very much respect – because they accepted the following (very non-traditional) proposal from me:

When I went to them and asked them to consider supporting this blog,  I shared with them the following caveats:

A. I don’t want to run ads on my site.   I think that doing so compromises my ability to continue to speak freely.

B. If you support this site – you are doing just that.  You are not buying anything.

C. I told them that I would talk about any manufacturer and any product out there – good or bad – regardless of whether or not those manufacturers or products were direct competitors to them or not.

D. I haven’t guaranteed them anything in return for their support of this blog – other than list them as supporters and to keep this blog rolling as it has.  They are free to pull out at anytime as sponsors.  No strings attached.

Obviously – this is a bit of an odd “marketing” strategy if you will… and I’m proud to associate myself with companies that would go along with this set of conditions.

So – you might ask… why did I pick THESE supporters?

Well frankly – it was quite straightforward.   I picked up the phone and called each of them one at a time.  WHO I chose was even easier – I only called people/companies who’s gear I ALREADY USE REGULARLY and WOULD RECOMMEND to ANYONE.  That makes my decision very easy.  I don’t – and will never – recommend a piece of gear that I wouldn’t put my hard-earned cash down myself and buy.  Period.

If you look carefully at the list of supporters – you’ll also notice that some of the companies technically compete with one another on some level.  To me that simply reinforces what I’ve come to learn over time:  these companies are confident in their products and service and will allow those products to speak for themselves.   They understand that there is no ONE tool for ALL jobs.  The same can be said of any good photographer / filmmaker:  they respect that there is other talent out there – and admire it – but are not threatened by it.   In fact if another competitor out there does something better – it only causes them to want to set the bar higher themselves.

So –  I will continue to write as I have and hopefully these companies will stick with us long term.   My goal is to put good (hopefully excellent) quality content out there for you to read / share in – and we’ll go from there.

You will see several new things popping up on my blog in the weeks to come.   Some detailing new policies and some listing more information on the different pieces of gear that I use – and why.

Overall – not much will change other than the fact that you should see more new content on this blog more often.   I will do my best to remain as neutral and fair as possible and to continue to put out the same blog that I’ve been publishing for close to two years now.

I also look forward to putting out new feature ideas that I’ve had all along – but simply haven’t had the time/manpower to do until now.

One thing that I’ve never forgotten – is that I’m a filmmaker/photographer first – and a blogger second.  And I’d like to keep it that way – without ever being forced to choose one over the other.

I look forward to having you around as readers of this blog for the foreseeable future.

Thank you for your support of this blog and thank you to the companies above for helping us grow – as bloggers, creatives, filmmakers and yet-to-be-determined titles.

Sincerely,

Vincent Laforet

 

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