If you’re reading this on December 27, 2016, then please know that today is our seventh birthday. It’s been quite a roller coaster since founding this website a long time ago in a bedroom while wearing pajamas. And I genuinely hope that this website’s origin story is an inspiration to you find a way to achieve your dreams too.
Seven years ago, I was a young man right out of college. Unlike a whole lot of college students, I didn’t excessively party amongst friends. Instead, I was grooming myself for a while to get into the professional world. I started interning and writing freelance by the time I was a sophomore. After knocking on door after door, I finally scored an internship with PCMag.com helping with their blogs. It was cool, though short lived. When my internship ended, I freelanced. Then I went to Geek.com, Magnum Photos (yes, that Magnum Photos), Photography Bay, and a number of other places. I networked like crazy but when I graduated college, I found that the recession of 2009 wasn’t doing a whole lot for the job market. So I kept networking, and was told that due to my experiences, I probably shouldn’t be applying for entry level positions. But I was desperate to get into it. And I really, really wanted to work at Gizmodo. I specifically groomed myself to be able to write around 13 articles per day if needed, but person after person told me that they weren’t hiring.
For money I was writing at Photography Bay, and was a paparazzo and wedding photographer.
And then there was the catalyst.
You see, I grew up in a fairly conservative Caribbean household with an overly controlling and overbearing mother. In fact, she was toxic. She used to tell me everyday that I was nothing and no one because I used to sit in my pajamas in my bedroom with my laptop working, instead of at a desk, in an office, and getting a job with benefits and a career path. The toxicity kept seeping into me, and if it wasn’t for my father teaching me how to meditate since I was 14, it probably would have gotten to me. But I was determine to not let it.
So I learned how to channel the negativity around me into creative energies–it’s something a lot of photographers we’ve interviewed here on the site relate to. Somehow or another, I got the name, “The Phoblographer”. It was going to be a website all about photography that would take care of me and others later on. Indeed, I pay the main staffers better than many of my direct competitors and offer better benefits.
As the site grew, I kept that skill with me: channelling the negativity that trolls and those who think that I’m way too young to be in this industry spew at me to be standing where I am years later. The internet is a place where everyone simply just goes to spew it out to the world and it ends up infecting everyone else. That’s part of the reason why the decision was made to remove comments.
We’ve weathered a lot over the years: our Facebook has been hacked, we’ve faced down DDoS attacks, staffers have come and gone, and we’ve evolved as a publication. We used to just publish one killer feature story a day and now we do two and even publish on the weekends. Do you have any idea how tough that is to do for a blog?
We’ve also started a new website: La Noir Image. It’s dedicated to just Black and White photography, is a premium website and the cost only starts at $15/year. I’ve been pretty quiet with it because it’s going to start some major revamps very soon.
And my other site: All Camera Deals? It’s in the process of being turned into a comparison search engine for cameras and photography gear.
Then there’s the workshops that we’re doing; they’re the most bang for your buck options on the web right now and they help photographers to really embrace their creativity. More are coming!
Running the site though is getting tougher. I’m now legally blind, and while everyone and their mother is trying to change the whole innovation in the imaging game, the way that blogs are being consumed is also changing. We’ve grown up; but the key difference with the Phoblographer is that you’re always going to get the honest truth with a dash of personality. We’re evolving. We’re going to keep evolving.
In fact, we’re probably even going to get into print soon too.
As it is, I want to say a few things. Thank you. Thank you to the readers that have been with us through the thick and thin of things and always believed in us. Thank you to the people who gave us a chance when I knocked on your door and said that I wanted to start a symbiotic relationship.
Thank you Anthony Thurston for being the site’s Curation Editor and the hard work that you do while trying to balance a million things.
Thank you Jamiya Wilson for finding a way to keep me light hearted but focused by bringing the goofy.
Thank you Robin Wong for the incredible work you do curating excellent photographers worth featuring on this website.
Thank you Mark Beckenbach, for asking to be our Copy Editor after hearing my story. I wish nothing but the most genuine well wishes to you and your new family.
Thank you to all those who are signing on as contributors to give the site a bit more spice. We’re still looking too!
Thank you to Chris Stark and the team at DigitalMGMT for managing our advertising.
Thank you to Horatio Tan, a long time reader and serious supporter of the site.
And lastly, thank you for reading this.