(This post reproduces the announcement posted by Colin Jago on Sunday October 2, 2011, which can be found at this link. —MJ)
Solo Photo Book Month has been running for four years. And what a fantastic four years they have been.
All good things, however, come to an end. And this is the end for SoFoBoMo.
The small group of us who organise the annual event have looked long and hard at the future and have, reluctantly, decided that without proper (i.e. expensive) web development and without proper (i.e. expensive) promotion we cannot go on.
We believe that participants over the years have, well, grown a little. The experience of proving that you can (can try, can finish, can see your book, can hold your book) has been energising. People have written to us to tell us that. We've felt it ourselves.
We would like to give our grateful thanks to everybody who has volunteered, everybody who has donated, and everybody who has participated.
The website will stay online until the end of 2011 and we encourage everybody to explore the range of books available.
The SoFoBoMo team.
We're sorry to see this, and send our best wishes and congratulations to the team as well as all the participants. It was a great idea and it's been a great program for a lot of people. I know that a number of our readers have participated in SoFoBoMo at one time or another. In the summer of 2011, 391 people took part and 149 books were completed.
On a related note, we're very sorry to see that our friend Kirk Tuck is bringing his popular blog, "The Visual Science Lab," to a close. Kirk started VSL when the economy was in the doldrums and he had time on his hands, and now he has other things to do again.
He achieved a remarkable degree of success with his site in a relatively short time; with the high energy level and intense focus typical of successful commercial pros, he piled up a lot of excellent and involved content, and in the process raised the traffic of his blog to an elite level. I'm here to tell ya it ain't easy.
By the way, Kirk mentions in his final post that he is "done spending time creating content for free," but at the risk of seeming disrespectful of that perfectly understandable desire, I've sent him an invitation him to write a monthly column for TOP if he wants to. He might not accept, but what the heck, it's worth a try. Some guys are just good.
Naturally we wish Kirk the best, and extend our congratulations to him for his successful run with VSL. I'll keep that door I mentioned open for him, just on the off chance.
(Thanks to Justin Ting and Patrick Dodds)
UPDATE (breaking news, 1 p.m. Tuesday): I just now opened a brief comment to this post that read, "Mike, You know I can't resist. I'm in. Love the writing but I'll leave the moderation of comments up to you. Thanks. Kirk."
I'm very pleased. No details yet (we haven't spoken), but I'll keep you apprised.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by John Roberts: "I was also sorry to read that Kirk Tuck is ending his blog. In an internet world where there is so much uninformed opinion, or mere self promotion, The Visual Science Lab combined worthwhile information, entertaining writing, and photographs that evidenced that the author actually knows what he is writing about. Mr. Tuck has the too often rare ability to express knowledgeable opinions without coming across as an egotistical know-it-all. I really hope Kirk Tuck will take you up on the offer to write a regular column; he would be a welcome addition to TOP's team of contributing writers."
Featured Comment by MM: "In his final blogpost, Kirk wrote, '[Since January 2009] I've written over 720 entries: some popular (the gear reviews), some contentious (anything about the death of the commercial photo industry), and some largely ignored (the ones about inspiration, art for art's sake, personal growth, and inquiries into what propels and sustains us).'
"Of the 150 comments posted so far lamenting Kirk's shutting down VSL, a number are from 'long-time lurkers' who say that even though they never commented to express their appreciation, they will miss most the third category, the most 'thought'-full pieces. It's no surprise to anyone familiar with the online photography world that Kirk's gear- and commercial-oriented articles generated the most heat, while his reflections that had fewer proper nouns and brand names remained quietly (under-)appreciated.
"There is a tremendous amount of great content—written by an experienced professional photographer—in those 720 posts (which will remain accessible online). Perhaps Kirk can occasionally revisit and rework for TOP some of the timeless themes in the inspiration/art/growth essays that he worked hard on but were 'largely ignored' by gear-review surfers. He'll get a good reception here.
"Kirk is wise, very wise, and photographers benefit when he shares his wisdom."
Featured [partial] Comment by christian: "A sad day indeed! When I was a kid in the Boy Scouts, an adult handed me a round, wooden disk. It said 'TUIT' on it. He then told me that I could never again say I didn't get a round tuit. Even then I was a fan of puns, and this sat very nicely with me. I have been planning on participating in SOFOBOMO for the last two years, and I can't say I simply didn't get around to it, however I did let other priorities distract me. I guess there's no reason I cannot still do my own 'FOBO' in a MO. I just need to carve out the time."