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Wasted talent

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derekhansen
derekhansen e2 Member 5184 forum postsderekhansen vcard United Kingdom23 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 1:38 PM

Perhaps its just a fact that photographers who have steadily improved from enthusiastic amateur to professional standard have (in their minds) reached a plateau on their learning curve. What they were getting from EPZ( setting aside the social community), information, feedback, critique, they feel that they no longer need at least from the vast majority of 'ordinary' photographers.
So how do you keep people who feel they have outgrown the site? Very difficult. An elite critique gallery where only Pro's can display and be judged only by their peers might work. It sounds horribly elitist but frankly I think that anything else is merely an attempt to replace what has gone (that desire for knowledge and the need to improve) rather than building on it.

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20 Dec 2010 - 1:38 PM

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Coleslaw
Coleslaw e2 Member 913403 forum postsColeslaw vcard Wales28 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 1:41 PM

To me (and a few others I know), the site just couldn't provide the inspiration anymore. Let me explain:

When we first joined, we were completely beginners. Everything here looked awesome. But over the years, we have learnt and grown. We started to explore and realize what we like to see and what we like to do.

However, the standard of the gallery hasn't really grown much. Yes, you do get some quirky ones now and then. But as you get more and more members, the quality of gallery will no doubt suffers. Such is normal as EPZ is the place to learn. We went through it, we were beginners once and we understood it.

I don't know what you need to do, Pete, I don't even know if there is anything you can do, TBH.

Just my 2p. That's all.

Ops, Derek just said it above.

Last Modified By Coleslaw at 20 Dec 2010 - 1:42 PM
csurry
csurry  129230 forum posts92 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 1:49 PM

Not sure I fully agree with the last two posts. We can all still learn. I learn things every day about photography or one of my subjects, so I don't think that is it. Maybe though ePZ is not the resource for this type of knowledge.

Coleslaw
Coleslaw e2 Member 913403 forum postsColeslaw vcard Wales28 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 1:54 PM

Not asking for anyone to agree, Cheryl, just how I felt.
I am not saying we can't learn anymore. That will be stupid, as photography is a learning process and we learn everyday.
I am saying getting inspiration from photos I see. Seeing photos that excite me, inspire me.

thewaiter
thewaiter  121177 forum posts England9 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 1:55 PM

Pete,

It seems an impossible question to answer, like Cheryl I don’t have the answers either. My experience is the site has grown into a behemoth since I first joined, I personally think it’s too big, the cosiness has gone, too many galleries and groups, too many drop down menus etc etc, and it splinters the masses to only look at certain elements of the site, and that’s one the of problems, we are all different and want different things from a website, and it’s impossible to satisfy everyone.

Not everyone is a passionate as you, some people don’t have the time ( sadly I don’t ) or inclination to post and again as Cheryl says sometimes constructive criticism falls on death ears ( don’t get me on the subject of ego’s ) it’s a shame that you feel the site needs improving but I guess that’s evolution, where do you want to see it in the future?

Last Modified By thewaiter at 20 Dec 2010 - 1:56 PM
strawman
strawman  1022006 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 1:56 PM

Is this not the problem magazines also face. When I started Photography Monthly was great lots of articles of interest then but by bit you go yup seen it, did it last year. and advanced photographer comes out has great panorama feature so I am off out trying that etc

So is the problem to allow an experience that develops with the person. For those that are moving on it allows them to work in a different area, a bit like levels in a game. Now that brings its own problems, for example accusations of divisions/elitism and some may get upset at getting left behind but then life is like that.

I like the social side of EPZ and have met a very interesting bunch of people, so please do not loose that, it is the best for a reason, but it could be some bits have to change. A theme you get is how do I filter out.... So either there is a way of filtering out or people move on to a different web site. Perhaps it is better to have multiple galleries than loose people.

John_Frid
John_Frid  8514 forum posts United Kingdom56 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 1:58 PM

I'm not necessarily best placed to answer your question, but I am happy to venture some thoughts.

Most people are time poor - they have more things vying for their attention than they have time to give. Where people earn a living from photography, it may be that they have to work more and more hours to generate the same income as previously and this takes up whatever spare time they previously had for EPz. They aren’t leaving the site so much as having too little time available.

Another thought – people join the site when they are hobbyist photographers. At this time their passion is tremendous because they only indulge in the hobby in their spare time. They make the transition to professional togger and they continue with EPz as it provides invaluable help as they are establishing themselves. However, once they become established and confident, perhaps photography has become just a job – a previously exciting hobby is now the mundane daily grind. They decide they want to do something different in their spare time so take up pottery (for example) and spend their spare time making plates and bowls.

Or.....they just get a bit jaded and fatigued by being the ones who others always look to for help. It can become a bit tiring to be the expert – who on earth do you turn to when everybody always looks to you. They just need a break.

There are probably more reasons why people leave the site than we can begin to imagine.

Keeping people on the site is always going to be a challenge – like most clubs there will probably be a small hardcore who stick with it come what may – whilst the rest flit in and out for a variety of reasons.

Once you start changing the nature of the site in attempt to hold onto “old members” you risk losing the very thing that encourages new members to join.

Perhaps the answer is that a single site cannot truly hope to be all things to all people, and the very act of trying destroys (or at least undermines) what made it successful in the first place. Perhaps we have to let people drift away as they outgrow the site – or move the entry criteria up which may keep the existing members longer but at the expense of some of the beginners. Can we have our cake and eat it too?

In the magazine world, a popular ploy is to create sister publications that cater for the different needs so that members can “graduate” from one to another. They may share certain aspects, but they have sufficient individual identities to feel different enough to retain the interest.

Maybe more questions than answers – but all food for thought (back to cakes again then).

thewaiter
thewaiter  121177 forum posts England9 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 2:03 PM


Quote: However, the standard of the gallery hasn't really grown much. Yes, you do get some quirky ones now and then

I disagree there are some quality photographers and images shown.


but as you say


Quote: When we first joined, we were completely beginners. Everything here looked awesome. But over the years, we have learnt and grown

brian1208
brian1208 e2 Member 1110265 forum postsbrian1208 vcard United Kingdom12 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 2:14 PM


Quote: but the community aspect has changed and it's not like it has been and that's the bit that makes it enjoyable to be here that I would like to improve for everyone

I honestly don't think that this is something YOU can improve Pete (and I mean that in a positive sense).

As another long-term member I remember how it was 4 or 5 years ago, a much more enjoyable and interactive "society" (remember the mad "Christmas Party" we had? Smile )

I think this was down to a couple of key things, there weren't so many of us and we were actively trying to help you grow EPZ from a relatively new idea into a successful presence on the web.

I think what has happened is that you have now grown from a small "Hamlet" into a "New Town", lots of busy commuters who pop in now and then but without a sense of ownership or commitment to what is provided.

I think you are on the right track with things like groups (returning to small community activities) but from what I have seen I suspect EPZ may have grown beyond that?

It may be that you have to accept the change of character as part of the price of commercial success.

John_Frid
John_Frid  8514 forum posts United Kingdom56 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 2:18 PM

Another thought - has EPz become too big (as suggested by thewaiter). In real life smaller communities tend to be tighter knit. People help, socialise and support each other because they have managed to realy get to know each other. As a community grows it becomes more dificult to maintain such a knowledge of everyone and it all starts to get a bit less sociable - I live in London and only know my immediate neighbours. When I lived in a smallish village of about 400 people I knew loads of them. Has EPz gone from a tight knit village to small and socially challenged city?

I certainly feel that it has drifted away from what initially attracted me. It still has lots to offer, but I don't spend anywhere near as much time on the site as I used to.

Edit - Looks like brian had the same thoughts as me but was quicker at typing.

Last Modified By John_Frid at 20 Dec 2010 - 2:20 PM
strawman
strawman  1022006 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 2:22 PM

I have to agree a lot with Brian's post.

Picture_Newport


Quote: To me (and a few others I know), the site just couldn't provide the inspiration anymore. Let me explain:

When we first joined, we were completely beginners. Everything here looked awesome. But over the years, we have learnt and grown. We started to explore and realize what we like to see and what we like to do.

It's called progression.

Take heart and be encouraged by the fact that it is now your work that looks awesome to the complete beginners. You are now supplying that inspiration rather than being inspired. Stop doing that and nobody will progress.

Paul

thewaiter
thewaiter  121177 forum posts England9 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 2:29 PM


Quote: but from what I have seen I suspect EPZ may have grown beyond that?

It may be that you have to accept the change of character as part of the price of commercial success.

indeed my point Brian.

Pete, normally when companies see the grow that you have seen the owners cash in for millions....... Wink

Last Modified By thewaiter at 20 Dec 2010 - 2:38 PM
John_Frid
John_Frid  8514 forum posts United Kingdom56 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 2:30 PM

What criteria should we judge the success of the site by?

I'm not sure that membership numbers would be my criteria. Of course more members increases the attractiveness of the site for advertisers, and therefore if making money is your motivation then maybe more members is great.

Here is an analogy - when I go on holiday I prefer to go to smaller hotels, or travel with a small group. I like it because it allows me to create relationships with the people I travel with and it adds greatly to my enjoyment. I accept that this type of holiday costs more money - I pay it happily (well maybe not happily) because it provides me with what I want.

So - Pete - what type of site do you want - and at what price do you want it?

Coleslaw
Coleslaw e2 Member 913403 forum postsColeslaw vcard Wales28 Constructive Critique Points
20 Dec 2010 - 2:48 PM


Quote: Take heart and be encouraged by the fact that it is now your work that looks awesome to the complete beginners. You are now supplying that inspiration rather than being inspired. Stop doing that and nobody will progress.

Very true.
Hence, I am still here, not that I can inspire anyone. But I am ready to help whenever I can.

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