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I did make a little forum post to mark the occasion, but what the hell, l'll make a blog entry too....
I joined Ephotozine 7 years ago today. 4th December, 2002. When I joined I was exactly a month away from my 30th birthday, and a month today I'll be 37. That's a proper chunk of my life, all of my 30's.
When I joined, I was part way through doing my City & Guilds photography. Funnily enough, I'm half way through a course now, Photography, Art & Architecture at Central St. Martins. A period of 7 years bookended by photography courses, although the current course is much more conceptual than practical.
I often wonder where we're all going, where the site is going. I can only assume I'll be marking 10 years on the site in 3 years time, some people are nearly there, which seems remarkable. Will some of us have 15, or 20 stars after our names at some point? I can't say it's been all plain sailing, I've got bored at times, deleted all my images, not used the site for a while - but can anyone who has been in any relationship for 7 years or more say it's all been enjoyable? I think the positives of being a member have certainly outweighed the negatives. I've met some great people through the site, one or two have become genuine real-life friends, and I've progressed my photography to a level where I do a bit of it professionally. I've not been as active as some, but have absorbed the information nonetheless, and very helpful it's been.
I now feel on the cusp of a new period in my own photographic journey, my work is maturing, I'm becoming less interested in the 'how' and more in the 'what' and 'why' of photography, and taking much more interest in the fine art / documentary side. I kind of feel that now I've learnt quite a bit of the language, I need to figure out what I'm trying to say. I sometimes feel Ephotozine isn't the right place for where I'm heading, but there have been some interesting initiatives recently in areas like critical discussion, and some great and interesting new photographers have joined. I guess the site can only be as interesting and relevant as the members make it. I can't deny that EPZ has been an almost constant companion in my photography so far, so let's see where we go from here. What can't be denied is the unique community Pete has nurtured here, something which nearly finished him off but to which he still contributes a lot. I'm not normally given to sycophancy, but sometimes you do have to take a step back and think how many other sites you still drop in on almost every day, after 7 years... think about it.
Anyway, I could go on directionless for ages, so here's to the next however many years!