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Lightstalkers Update, Vol. III

Hey everybody — Shinji here, your ship’s captain. This post is just a note to let you all know what we’re working on, and what’s coming up next for Lightstalkers. As you know, we’ve now got more than 9,000 members and a ton of traffic, so we’re not able to respond to every email, PM, or post. Keep sending your feedback and questions, though — it all helps.

Anyway, check it out. Lightstalkers is produced by November Eleven, a nonprofit corporation. We continue to operate the site without a budget, which means we struggle sometimes to keep the servers up and the code fresh; our plan is to start fundraising in the near future so that we can get full steam ahead on that.

Some of you have already offered to donate funds — unfortunately, we’re not yet completely tax-exempt, and we’re not ready to handle and direct donations just yet. When we are, we’ll let you know.

In the meantime, we’re going to start experimenting with site sponsorship. We’re going to add a small button to the site, which we’ll use to acknowlege site sponsors. With any luck, we’ll be able to raise a little bit of scratch without turning the site into a billboard.

If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring the site yourself, this is a good time to let us know — just drop an email to support@novembereleven.org.

More information about N11 is available at http://www.novembereleven.org.

Otherwise, we’re just going to keep fixing bugs and adding features. We’ll have another Lightstalkers Update when we have specifics to talk about. Thanks everyone, and let’s be careful out there.

by Shinji Kuwayama at 2006-05-24 17:09:29 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) NYC , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

I wrote Shinji with a pledge of sponsorship dollars to start with. Who else will step up to the plate/wicket/whereever-you-start-your-game…?

by [former member] | 24 May 2006 17:05 (ed. May 24 2006) | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
I will, don’t have much money, but I will gladly donate some of what I have to keep this place going.

Cheers
Mat

by [former member] | 24 May 2006 18:05 | Victoria, BC, Canada | | Report spam→
Show me the cookie jar and I’ll stuff some Yen into it for ya.

by [former member] | 24 May 2006 19:05 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
I’m in too for donations/sponsorship.

by Luis E. Andrade | 24 May 2006 20:05 | Philly Metro Area, Jersey Side, United States | | Report spam→
Any thoughts on having a print auction with the funds going to LS? There is a boatload of talent here and a lot of great work.

by Nayan Sthankiya | 24 May 2006 20:05 | Seoul, Korea (South) | | Report spam→
That’s a great idea, Nayan.

by Luis E. Andrade | 24 May 2006 21:05 | Philly Metro Area, Jersey Side, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks everyone for the donation offers — hang on to it for now. We are at present not ready to handle donation money; we have to finalize some paperwork first. We’ll definitely, definitely, let the world know when the tip jar is open, but it’s not just yet.

In the meantime, thanks again for your support. Lightstalkers is already much more than we expected, and it’s clearly going to grow like crazy with such a community behind it.

More to come…

by Shinji Kuwayama | 24 May 2006 21:05 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
Our, “ship’s captain”?

by Barry Milyovsky | 24 May 2006 21:05 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
aye aye captain! all hands on board to help!

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 02:05 | Dubai, United Arab Emirates | | Report spam→
Hi Shinji,

As Paul Treacy mentioned earlier and me too, why not start thinking about a photobook by LS members.
This we can do at LULU.com where we have full control over lay-out, design and more.
We can start with a thread by asking LS members to pick 2 photo’s and hand them in.
By selling this book we can generate some money for the LS website.

Think about it and let us know if this will help to raise some money.

Cheers Hes Mundt

by Hes Mundt | 25 May 2006 03:05 | Amsterdam, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Hes

Yes people have started talking about this idea. But there is a slight problem! If every LS member submits 2 pics thats possibly in the region of 16,000 – 17,000 images & you know once the words out everyone would like to part of this & rightly so! You could effectively start up a rival to Getty with that number of images(well maybe not) but you get the problem.If it does come about I suggest spliting it in to regions or continents. As NY & London have so many members these would obviously be big books. It is a logistical nightmare but certainly worth it. Lets start by looking into this plan & then if it’s viable then appoint a co-ordinator in each region to handle the project. Instead of making those mad people at the helm of LS take the brunt of having to arrange something. Hes you can be the co-ordinator for Holland. Theres a good start. What do you think? Maybe Perpignan would be a great time to sit down & sort it out!

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 05:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Got an idea… What if we did a book called ‘The Precise Moment’ and right across the world all the lovely lightstalkers could get out their cameras and shoot whatever was in front of them at that precise moment. You could then do a regional edit which would cut a lot of the weight out of places like NY and London, ‘cos there would be bound to be a lot of similiarities (weather, subject matter maybe) and the parameters would cut out a lot of people from shooting stuff as well (like the LSer’s that have to support their habit non-photographically and maybe would be unavailable to shoot) so you would have some valid ways of cutting down the amount of stuff and then you have a built in market to sell it world wide! So Shinji, ‘Captain, my Captain’ shall we synchronise our watches?

by lisa hogben | 25 May 2006 05:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
Hmmmmm!! Very interesting ideas…photobooks by LS members…it will be a huge and fantastic book maybe for the record guiness, but maybe we must think about, like Mark says " I suggest spliting it in to regions or continents" also we can try make some categorized books by thematic or just a 1000 pictures book and make 10 of them.
Keep thinking and keep in touch.!!
GAMBATTE KUDASAI!!!

by David Coll Blanco | 25 May 2006 05:05 | Barcelona, Spain | | Report spam→
“cut out a lot of people from shooting stuff as well (like the LSer’s that have to support their habit non-photographically and maybe would be unavailable to shoot”

No Lisa. Thats not what lightstalkers is all about! This is a community & everyone regardless of their status should be invited to participate. If the idea gets of the ground then post a informer on LS with a deadline. Thats a fair way of doing it!! As for repetition so many of the members are unique photographers in their own right, various styles,subject matter etc etc.

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 05:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Sorry Mark, I didn’t mean to be exclusive, I really didn’t express myself well.
I just thought as a matter of practicality to eliminate the amount of stuff that would be submitted.
Making it tough to actually shoot
an image and not get it in the book because of time constraints or overlapping areas of interest
would be easier for people to handle I think than just saying their work didn’t make it
don’t you think? Or saying they were amateurs or worse that their work didn’t meet the editors criteria
because it sucked.‘Cos even if you limited everyone on LS to one photo I would think when word got
out that the membership would swell enormously. They had over 90,000 images
submitted to World Press Photos last year and even if you were editing regionally its a pretty massive task
for someone to take on. And as much as I believe in Utopia too, I can’t really see a book
with 1000 pages being that economically viable. The idea was to raise money wasn’t it?
So how do you include every person that sends in a photo or deal with their hurt feelings if you don’t?
Or the people who wouldn’t submit because they believe that they would be above it all (I have read
lots of ego’s amongst this community) I was merely suggesting a level playing field that through natural
attrition would take care some of those problems. And then the ‘community’ stays happy and money is made.

by lisa hogben | 25 May 2006 06:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
The book idea is awesome. 1000 images into a book about 3-500 pages. Magnums degrees is about 530 pages.
Lisa rejection is part of photography. No reason to exclude anyone. I think the reason people will not submit work is because of a lack of confidence or being scared of being ragged on rather than an ego issue (Thankfully this hasn’t been an issue on LS. This is a trully awesome community) If the work fits the critrea then sweet if not better luck next time. One image from each lightstalker will only be 9000 images to edit. into a book or 18000 for two images per member. Shinji as soon as ya ready for it. I’ll send my donation. However as beer doesn’t travel well in the post you’ll have to come to Tokyo to get those. Again thanks for such a cool place.

by Bruce Meyer | 25 May 2006 06:05 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Hi Mark,Lisa, Dave and Bruce,

I think its a good idea appointing someone from different regions or country. Lets say there is a co-ordinator for each country, than there must be someone
who co-ordinates the incoming images from these countries. A region co-ordinator as to say.
And of course anyone who feels like submitting an image is free to do so.
We can also say that the image should be not older than 5 years, or even younger.
You could place 4 maybe 6 photographers on 1 page, depends on the shape of the book.
All kinds of things are possible as long as we keep talking about it and believe in it that it is a good thing to do, which is to generate money
for this site so it will be on the net for a long time.

Keep coming with suggestions.

Hes Mundt

by Hes Mundt | 25 May 2006 08:05 | Amsterdam, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Well, I think a print sale would bring in better and faster results when it comes down to it. And it would automatically limit things to manageable proportions. A book from Lulu could be interesting: I like the Precise Moment idea, but making money off books requires Marketing, and that aint easy. Moreover, it requires a lot of money up front (or is the idea that as each order comes in, Lulu produces a copy for that order?) thematically you could have problems too: the precise moment idea could produce lots of boring shots. Anything more open would have to have some kind of binding categories governing it all, though that could be arranged. Finally, Idont think you have to worry about numbers so much as quality, since in fact our 9000 members are not all active; but publication brings out even the lurkers,a nd who the heck is going to be responsible for editing out the dross, of which there will be a lot?

by Jon Anderson | 25 May 2006 08:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Some good points John. I’d be happy to donate a print for a start. Anyone feel free to have a look at my gallery and make a suggestion for which one is most likely to sale well.

by Bruce Meyer | 25 May 2006 09:05 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Jon, you beat me to it! I second the print sale idea.

Some facts to consider concerning the book idea:
1. Printing costs alone, for a softcover perfect bound, 4-color book w/ 500 pages on lulu.com would be $79.53, now add shipping – which won’t come in cheap due to the sheer size/weight of such books – and you are probably looking at closer to 100 bucks, just for “technical” costs.

2. A 500p. 4c file would also produce a very large print file, even if you agressively compress the images , and I think the printing machines used by lulu’s contractors (Xerox iGen III) simply won’t be able to handle such files.

3. To a certain extent this also goes for the editor and designer – to be able to edit a 500 p. Indesign/Xpress file you’d need plenty of ressources and time.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the idea itself is indeed great. But I don’t think it would be a viable way to raise money for the site.
The concept of splitting the book into different regions/sections/themes or else might remedy some of the issues, and as others have said, a lot of these things need careful consideration. The effort required to coordinate let alone edit such a body of work is tremendous.

Refering to the quality issue, I’ll be posting a small review of my experience with lulu.com later today once I have the time, hopefully this will help some folks.

Cheers,
Phil

by P.S. | 25 May 2006 09:05 | Munich, Germany | | Report spam→
Oh I don’t know maybe I was just being a smart-arse you know
Precise Moment, Decisive Moment, I kinda liked the play on words.
Anything like this needs leadership though, because when it comes
down to the bottom line, well thats just it isn’t it? The bottom line.
If you are going to produce anything that earns money then you have
to give something in return, thats the devil of the capitalist system
and if we were to get up a book or print sales (which I also think is a
great idea) someone still has got to work out what is value for money.
I would think that the unfortunate thing is, that in a community like this
which is an incredibly wonderful resource you would find lots of people
who want to give this photography jape a shot and yes, quite frankly
some photos could be seen by the buying public as ‘dross’ And more unfortunately
someone would need to be responsible for the decision that it is that.
You see if it is an inclusive project no-one could ever be accused of using
this site as a cynical marketing tool. So here I am again trying to work out a
level playing field that all could contribute to and then also buy copies to keep
the site is readies, without becoming disenfranchised by the decision makers.
So next in line is what? Applying a theme and a deadline and then it becomes
like a photographic prize or maybe (and this is a favourite amongst us Aussies)
have a ‘chook raffle’ That means we get someone to donate prints and then we
raffle them off, its very democratic, but unfortunately not all that sustainable,
though we do have a limitless supply of images…

by lisa hogben | 25 May 2006 09:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
Im going to donate some cold hard cash either way. I like the ‘idea’ of the book and even print sales but more than anything think we should chip in as much or as little as we deem fit and help Shinji cover the costs of running the site. For me, Im willing to make any member of lightstalkers a print (11″×20″) from either my gallery or my site if they donate some cash in return. I would also be willing to contribute to some images to any projects that develope to help fund the site. Sorry for being such a pragmatic bastard! (as always)

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 10:05 (ed. May 25 2006) | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Well, pragmatism has kept food on your table and film (or flash cards) in your camera. Let’s make sure LS survives as well.


And your offer is very generous. Thanks, Nathan.

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 10:05 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Nathan, bit short on cash at the moment (actually got about $2.50 which is even less than
Eugene Smith had when he died) are IOU’s accepted?

by lisa hogben | 25 May 2006 10:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
I like the idea of a print auction. I am not suggesting she has time to organize another, but one of our members was behind SPICE…http://www.jennifermacfarlane.com/spice/spice.htm

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 10:05 | Brooklyn, NY, United States | | Report spam→
Pragmatic anarchist I should have said but somehow think you all might have thunk it an oxymoron. Yeah by all means everyone should do what they feel they can and what they feel they are willing to do. IOU’s are worth more than gold in my world, just not sure about Shinji’s. Better to ask him :)

p.s. Erica that picture of the cat in your gallery totally freaks me out, maybe I can work out a deal ?? and have the Mona Lisa of cats on my wall ??

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 10:05 (ed. May 25 2006) | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Lisa,
Throw in a six pack of the finest kiwi beer, sorry no aussie beer :) and a jar of vegemite with the chook and ya got a deal. I agree with you the book project is a big task needing some serious leadership, a clear idea etc.. I am up for giving a print. To prevent the dross please have alook at the my gallery PM me which print is OK. Selling the prints in the US/Europe??

by Bruce Meyer | 25 May 2006 10:05 (ed. May 25 2006) | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Bruce IOU a Magnum of Vegemite for a print of the guy in the embroidered suit.
I have never been to Japan but something about that shot makes me think you really
nailed the culture. But I am not sure the MV (as opposed to the VB
I will offer Nathan when I decide on something from his gallery)is really the currency
we are after and it may take me a while to actually (if ever) find real cash.
I always sail pretty close to the wind and I suspect that could be a real
problem for lots of the people on LS, so I am backing the ‘chook raffle’ idea.
If I get lucky I get your embroidery guy for maybe a $5 raffle ticket, suits my
predisposition towards a gamble… (and you can make plenty more from all the other
people who buy the raffle tickets!)

by lisa hogben | 25 May 2006 10:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
i am up for donating a print as well to support lightstalkers.
if you think that a print of mine would be interesting to anybody…

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 11:05 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
8000 x $2.50 = $20,000 ( I used a calculator ) How many books do you need to sell to raise $20,000

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 11:05 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Nathan, good point. Why circumnavigate the globe when you can you can find a shorter route. Pragmatism in these matters is necessary, the rest is pipe dreaming. But we dont have 8000 active members. more like 600, maybe a thousand if you stretch it.

by Jon Anderson | 25 May 2006 11:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Jon

Of course it is a massive project but it’s not a pipe dream. I mentioned before that you would need to plan this & then come to the conclusion that it is either possible or not viable financially or because of logistics. The print sale is also a good idea but you would still need someone to co-ordinate the sales unless as I understand your all buying each others prints!!

I believe the best way to generate an income to keep LS active is too sell advertising space on the site & individual donations if need be. It seems that all the talk of a book has gone a bit wayward because all the exitement has clouded the vision.

Whatever happens I’m sure El Capitann will sale on into the horizon!!

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 11:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
anything u need…Shinji, when you and Teru and Eugene figure out how to open up the Penny/tip Jar, let me know and I’ll give u my Credit Card #…also, i think any fund raising option (like book) would be great: I also like the idea of “membership” (small annual fee)…10,000 (members) x $20 _ 200,000 = happy site ;)))…cheers, bob

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 12:05 | Toronto (home sweet), Canada | | Report spam→
Why not produce some merchandising? Maybe it sounds weird at first but i’m sure some people wouldn’t mind having a lighstalkers t-shirt or coffee mug… well, just my 2 cents… i’m a volunteer in a non-profit NGO and that strategy always seems to bring back some income. You guys could hand it to a third part copany that only does that… like www.cinderblock.com
I know that are other like that as well.

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 12:05 | Amsterdam, Netherlands | | Report spam→
I can tell you this: more photogs have landed jobs at this site than I can begin to count: that’s an easy investment ($20), not to mention the friends/advice/companions/parties this site affords, and for young photogs/students, its cheaper than paying old fucks like me to listen to in a class room! :))))))).cheers, bob

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 12:05 | Toronto (home sweet), Canada | | Report spam→
Luiz, actually merchandising is one of the things they are looking into. We have designs for Tshirts, and they are really pretty cool. Problem is, as shinji pointed out, things cannot move forward until all the paperwork is in place.


mark, perhaps pipe dream was too strong a term, but I remain somewhat dubious about the venture, particularly when it is much easier to simply contribute a buck, instead of raising money to print a book, collect the imagery, edit, and so on. Then market the thing. The print auction could be arranged with less hassle and more quickly, though it too would require some coordination and planning.


dont forget that we will also be applying for grants, and I now have a list of about ten likely grantmakers. There are plenty of avenues available to us. H.M.S. Lightstalkers will continue sailing for a long time.

by Jon Anderson | 25 May 2006 12:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
all ideas make sense for me but I think that we need to be more practical and fast… I never used any merchandise things. I don’t like it either
Shinji, I don’t care how legal but I wanna put some papers in envelop and then send it to you.
however, advertise and grant things seem more usable. If I can help you guys, let me know.
cheers
ALI

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 15:05 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
H.M.S. Lightstalkers (?)


High Melting Steel
Although, being in the shipping biz, I like Her Majesty Ship “Lightstalkers” (note to Shinji, Trademark that one)… :-)

I like that merchandising idea too. Whatever it is in the end, I’m there.

Luis

by Luis E. Andrade | 25 May 2006 15:05 | Philly Metro Area, Jersey Side, United States | | Report spam→
I like all these ideas, but as Jon Anderson pointed out there’s probably only about a 1000 active members of Lightstalkers and roughly 8000 ‘Lightlurkers’. But as to merchandise, i’d wear a T-Shirt. Will there be Kevlar versions? Ceramic plated Lightstalkers baseball caps? Seem to recall that John Vink pasted a shirt onto a picture of Guilad Kahn. Sincerely hope he’s wearing it in Afghanistan…

by [former member] | 25 May 2006 22:05 | On a wheel in a cage, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Was Guilad topless and needed clothing?

by lisa hogben | 25 May 2006 22:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
Kevlar, silk, baseball cap, t shirt, sweat shirt whatever, i’ll buy one, and wear it!!!
count me in

by [former member] | 30 May 2006 04:05 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Kevlar, silk, baseball cap, t shirt, sweat shirt whatever, i’ll buy one, and wear it!!!
count me in

by [former member] | 30 May 2006 04:05 | Paris, France | | Report spam→

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Participants

Shinji Kuwayama, Software Engineer Shinji Kuwayama
Software Engineer
Chicago , United States ( ORD )
Luis E. Andrade, I shoot and I write Luis E. Andrade
I shoot and I write
Philly Metro Area, Jersey Side , United States
Nayan Sthankiya, Visual Journalist Nayan Sthankiya
Visual Journalist
Saskatoon , Canada
Barry Milyovsky, totally unprofessional Barry Milyovsky
totally unprofessional
(emperor of ice cream )
New York , United States
Hes Mundt, Cameraman/Photographer Hes Mundt
Cameraman/Photographer
(freelancer)
Amsterdam , Netherlands
lisa hogben, Visualjournalist! lisa hogben
Visualjournalist!
Sydney , Australia
David Coll Blanco, Photographer David Coll Blanco
Photographer
Tokyo , Japan
Bruce Meyer, Photog/teacher Bruce Meyer
Photog/teacher
Tokyo , Japan
Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
P.S., Photographer / Designer P.S.
Photographer / Designer
Vienna , Austria


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