A few days ago, I wrote about the possibility of opening a TOP Print Offer to TOP readers. If you haven't read that post, you should probably do so before reading the rest of this one. Especially, please read or reread the paragraph that begins, "First, you should choose...," just above the picture of the drive-in with the orange neon lights.
Our goal is to find up to five excellent pictures that we think people will want to own prints of, to offer in a print sale in the summer of 2012.
If you'd like to submit a picture as a possible candidate for that sale, today's the day. (Actually, it's the first day; we'll do this twice or three times more before the sale actually takes place next summer.)
There is no entry fee and we will never make any claim to any of your rights. You own the rights to you photograph at all times and you are not giving up any of those rights by submitting a photograph.
What I'll do is pick some of my favorite candidates from the submissions and post them here on TOP sometime in the next few weeks, asking for reader feedback about which ones they think might make the best candidates for a sale. We'll pick some "finalists" from this group based mainly on that feedback.
That means that by submitting your print, you'll be tacitly agreeing to possibly having it shown on TOP and commented on by other TOP readers. Please do consider the effects on you of opening your work to criticism in this way; it's not always the easiest thing in the world to endure. For starters, your picture might not make it past the first cut. I will not be able to explain to people individually why I didn't choose a particular picture; it's not necessarily an indictment of your work, and it's certainly not a comment about you! I'm just one guy with his own individual taste. I'm not the Grand Poo-Bah of good and bad. Please don't be offended if your picture isn't chosen.
Subject matter is open, but bear in mind that we do not show nudes or pornographic pictures on TOP (despite our longtime advertiser Eolake Stobblehouse). You can submit one picture per round, so submitting today will not prevent you from submitting in the other rounds. Part of the idea here is for it to be fun, and I don't see how preventing people from participating in each round makes it any more fun for anybody.
To submit, you must follow the following instructions exactly. I'll simply ignore all submissions that don't follow the submission guidelines, without notification to you.
1. The picture must be one you took. You must own all of the identifiable rights to the photograph free and clear. Do not submit other peoples' work or work derived in whole or in part from other peoples' work. Do not submit work done as work-for-hire, or work you to which you have sold or otherwise relinquished the rights.
2. Submit only one picture. Put the picture in the body of the email if you can, so I don't have to open separate attachments. I realize people have all sorts of different systems, but do the best you can.
3. The picture representation must be a JPEG, no more than 800 pixels wide, saved in the sRGB colorspace.
4. Include a byline. A byline is line that says "By ------- -------." The blank should be filled in with whatever name you go by or wish to be known by professionally. It should be your real name but does not need to be your full legal name. Thus, Robert X. Meier might include a byline that says "By Bob Meier."
5. Only pictures submitted today (Wednesday, November 16th, 2011, Central U.S. Time) will be eligible this time. As I say, there will be other opportunities to come, so if you miss this go-round, no need to despair.
5. To submit [...]
[Link removed at midnight. Round One is over! If you didn't get to play, never fear, this wasn't your last chance; there will be more rounds before we're done. Update tomorrow.]
Finally: anyone can participate. Doesn't matter if you're famous or unknown, a longtime veteran or a newcomer, or whether you live in Kalamazoo or Kathmandu.
I'm guessing I'm going to be busy today—and I'm guessing I'm going to enjoy it. To paraphrase something Thomas Jefferson said of reading, I have a canine appetite for looking at photographs.