Happy New Year! Plus, a Flak Photo Upgrade

Detail, Sam Contis

Shed With Tree (Silo), 2007. Photo © Samantha Contis

A note from editor Andy Adams

Hello Everyone!

It's cold and windy here in Madison, Wisconsin as I write these words and it's become an annual tradition to showcase a selection of seasonal images on Flak Photo as we usher in the New Year. The response to my call for winter pictures was amazing — more than 500 submissions in just three weeks! My search for a single photo has again snowballed into a 4-week feature; I'll show 20 photographers, weekdays through the end of the month. Thanks to everyone who submitted and especially this year's contributors. Each of them will be archived in The Collection and I'll share them  on the Facebook page so you won't miss a day. There are some terrific pictures in store for you; I hope you'll make some time to see them in the coming weeks.

2011 was an exciting year for Flak Photo with lots of community photo projects in the U.S. and abroad. It's always fun (and increasingly novel) to go offline and bridge the digital and real worlds and it was wonderful to connect with so many of you in person. Some of this year's highlights include:

   •  Photo 2.0 video conversation at Light Work's Photographers + Publishing Conference »

   •  Aperture Foundation's What Matters Now? Proposals for a New Front Page Discussions »

   •  100 Portraits — 100 Photographers exhibition at the Australian Centre for Photography »

   •  The Future of Photobooks video discussion at Flash Forward Festival Boston »

   •  En Foco's New Works Fellowship Exhibition + Blog Feature »

   •  FORMAT International Festival of Photography Photography and the Internet discussion »

And the big news: At long last, our website upgrade is live. It's taken three years to get here and I hope you'll enjoy immersing yourself in the site as much as we've enjoyed making it for you. Sincere thanks are in order to the many people who have contributed their time and talents to bring this vision to life. To the Madison Data Crunchers (Kristen Tomaszewski, Nathan Meissner, Brian Hucek, and Allison Fitch) who spent countless hours poring over five years of published pictures and bringing them into the new website, I can't thank you enough and owe you more than the drinks and dinner that tempted you in the first place. To Sarah Patel, our UK-based digital media assistant who has been diligently keeping this site current as we've transitioned from one server to the next, you are amazing. And to Flak Photo's web development wizard, Marcus Trapp — you are a gentleman of enormous talent and boundless energy and I am forever indebted to you for your inspired engineering of this beautiful machine. 

So, what next?

Since launching this site in 2006, my mission has been to promote the discovery of contemporary image-makers from around the world. There are more than 1,500 photographs in the Flak Photo Collection at this writing and that number grows every day. We've added a Galleries, Features, Motion and Books section and so the new Flak Photo will provide a more robust channel for presenting the work of its contributors to a global audience of people who are passionate about visual culture. This project has deep roots in community collaboration, so I'm hoping that many of you will become a part of it in the years to come. In that spirit, I'm planning to publish publicly submitted interviews, essays, and other pieces of writing about photography here. As with the current submission policy, all are welcome to apply.

And I'd love to hear your feedback about how we can improve the site. We've got ideas for expanding on the work we've done so far and expect things to evolve as we move forward. We're planning to use the Flak Photo Beta group to share behind-the-scenes website updates and also to listen to your ideas about how we can make this space more useful for the artists, bookmakers and arts organizations who contribute to its pages as well as for the readers who visit every day. You can find us at Facebook.com/Groups/FlakPhotoBeta. See you there?

One of the best parts about producing Flak Photo is connecting with colleagues I admire, in person and online. Web 2.0 plays a major role in my photo work and has inspired me to explore how social media can help people communicate with each other about contemporary ideas in photography. To that end, I'm hosting two Facebook groups — the Flak Photo Network and Flak Photo Books — that facilitate conversations about photo practice in 21st century digital culture. Please, join us! And, if you like, you can follow my photo + video updates on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Thanks again to each of you for your continued support. Be well and keep looking.


Andy Adams
Editor • Producer • Publisher