RIP APUG.The photography forum, APUG, analog photography users group has died. It has returned under a new banner, one with three doorways. The effort to keep 3 separate but equal groups resulted in little google traffic, and low participation. The past decade has not been good for isolation gatherings.
Segregation, separate but equal, hasn’t been a viable mode of culture building in over fifty years; it emphasizes the wrong things. In the case of photography, thinking and functions are reduced to size of film, type of camera, basic technical operations. Which engineer do you call your daddy.
My answer to my Q: No. The suggestion I’d offer to the owner is close it, or sell it, and get back on track with some level of better future for yourself. You’ve already given the best production years of your life to an economic, and cultural failure. Your return has been a sparse life-style business.
The Problem: As they see it.
Analog, classic, traditional — hard to even find a name since even alternative must be hyphenated into their world. They missed out on the “multi” world; it ended before they turned to the web.
Anyway, it is easy to see what they don’t want: digital – stuff with computers, software. They don’t want the work to be simple, something many others are doing. They fear coming in late, and last, again.
The solution the site owner has implemented is name + brand change.
The Problem: Really
The new brand, PHOTRIO, is really just a unified login among the portals, complicated by selection flags for type of post.
But, the posts are from most of the same group of people with the same shortcomings: lack of growth of imagination; low perceptual skill.
In the first posts, after the reopening, the old guard produced the same denunciations of “photography not done by us,” and the assurance that whatever this new site achieved, we will have our same old way of doing print sharing. Although, we would be nice enough to act as experts if “they” want to know how to do it our way. Talk about separate, yet equal.
What was needed wasn’t a name change, it was a user change. Growing up isn’t a matter of makeup, it is what you make up; what you can make.
The Problem: From a greater distance.
Topic limits put limits on growth. Staying idle, or on the sidelines of a fast changing field lowers your survival skills and opportunities. Others have already taken over the new fields, planted them and enjoy the fruits.
The remains of analog have formed into 2 small online pools: Large Format Photography Forum, and APUG. Each in their way claiming to hold high the banner of fading glory. A better time and way. Each asserting that their horseshoe will return, lucky and useful as before. Each praising their failures as signs of dedication to art. Each on their last stand. Tide pools left by the waves of innovation
They have given up esthetic growth by clinging too tightly to technique. It has become their plank in a storm. But no one cares except them. And they don’t really care about esthetic growth which is an even more demanding path
Limitations Of Growth
There are few reasons for membership to grow among those who can grow on their own. This leaves the membership to those who have small ability for self growth. APUG/Photrio is a holdover of people who went into other fields because they were not dedicated or capable of surviving on the pathway of photography.
They are filled with late bloomers and false bloomers; success has passed these folks by. They have each other to confirm their social comparisons among. Their achievement is confirmed by similarly low achievers.
Cognitive integration occurs as people develop shared communications which influence, even alter interpretations of reality.
The high posters engage, gain benefit from affective integration in an opportunity to control others. They need complementary seekers, but those have already formed in other pools.
Stages of development of volunteer groups follows from the three key psychological needs: (1) inclusion; (2) control, and (3) camaraderie.
This progression, to be included after the group has achieved stage 3, means you have to disturb (break) the control satisfied members. This can’t be done by a struggling business without significant risk and likely failure
Silver Circle Adaptation
This extends even to some grandparents in the silver-circle: Michael and Paula, ie, MAS (Michael A. Smith) and Paula Chamlee. This duo has been on the workshop path since the 60s. They live off the aspirations of weekenders. And they seem to have done well. Well enough to fund the production of an Azo replacement: lodima.
Even with the apparent success: their own publishing firm, paper distributed, workshop and photo tours, they’ve had to increase their water-wings to stay afloat. For the past several years they have included scanning and printing services to their sales list.
Purity doesn’t survive in the whorehouse, not even in the silver-circle