What content category benefits greatly from digital, web-based organization and distribution, but is best appreciated offline? If you said art photography, then you understand intuitively why JPG Magazine is such an interesting Publishing 2.0 play.
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!).
The reproduction of this image on screen is a perfect example of why print makes sense.
Of course, I was happy to see that JPG compensates the photographers whose work is published with $100 and a free subscription. Is $100 enough? Depends on how successful JPG is. But it seems a reasonable place to start.
JPG summary of who they are is a great Publishing 2.0 roadmap for other print publications that want to survive in a 2.0 era:
JPG Magazine is for people who love imagemaking without attitude. It’s about the kind of photography you get when you love the moment more than the camera. It’s for photographers who, like us, have found themselves online, sharing their work, and would like to see that work in print.
JPG is a magazine. It’s published 6 times a year by 8020 Publishing. Check out the back issues. The photos in the magazine come from you!
JPG is a website. Here any photographer can join and upload photos to their member page. You can also submit your photos to issues and themes for consideration in the magazine.
JPG is a community. JPG exists because of, and exclusively for, photographers like you. Without you, we’re nothing.
Magazine, website, community. If only Time Warner had figured out this simple formula, they might not have Time Inc. on the block.
Om Malik also has a generally bullish take on JPG.
If I we’re a maker of a prosumer camera, I’d be all over JPG Magazine — whether JPG can attract these ad dollars is a big test for the future of publishing.