Interview with online photography store and newsletter Photojojo

Interview with Amit Gupta of Photojojo | www.digitalcameraworld.com

If you’re interested in photography and use the internet, chances are you will have heard of Photojojo! Photojojo runs a quirky online photography store and publishes a newsletter featuring creative photography DYI projects as well as tips and gear. Since they began they quickly acquired a huge online following and continue to grow. We were interested in what goes on behind the scenes of Photojojo, so we caught up with founder Amit Gupta

What was the idea behind Photojojo?

We started in April of 2006 as a simple email newsletter. The idea was pretty simple — there were so many blogs and sites and magazines devoted to photography, but they were all focused on the equipment; lens reviews, camera reviews, etc. We saw so many of our peers getting digital cameras and taking hundreds or even thousands of photos a year, and we thought there was room for something a little different, with a focus on what you could do with your photos after you’d taken them.

Photojojo store

How do you find your photo tips, projects and gear?

All sorts of ways! Readers send us ideas or tip us off to websites or apps or products we should check out, and we come up with ideas ourselves while brainstorming. We also make a lot of trips around the United States and also abroad (last year we went to Hong Kong and India, for example) looking at what people are doing with photography in other countries, meeting with people, and observing trends.

iPhoneography is definitely the biggest trend at the moment. But there are cultural differences you see when you travel. Micro 4/3rds and mirrorless cameras are everywhere in Japan and in Asia in general. They’re a fashion statement. We came back from there looking to see the same happen in the States over the next year, but it really hasn’t.

Before the iPhone, phone photography abroad was much bigger than it was in the States because the phones and the cameras in those phones were just plain better. Plus in the States we’re locked into two year contracts by the carriers, whereas abroad most people buy their handset outright, so they were ending up with better cameras, faster. That trend changed when the iPhone arrived.

Do you have a favourite project or kit you’ve featured on Photojojo?

There’s a project we featured a few years back that I always thought was particularly clever. A fellow tied a disposable camera to a park bench in his small town with a note asking people to take a photo of themselves and leave the camera for the next person. A day later he came back, developed the photos, and had a beautiful time capsule of a day’s life in his hometown. I love stuff like that.

Do you think that Photojojo would have been successful at an earlier time when digital technology and social media weren’t as advanced?

Certainly! Many of the techniques and the tutorials we feature are actually very analogue in nature; whether they involve working with film or working with a printed version of your photos. Obviously we think it’s great that more and more people are getting into photography with excellent cameras built into their phones and apps like Instagram, but we’re also fans of more traditional photography.

In your opinion, what do you think the future is for photography?

It won’t be long before 99 per cent of photos are taken with a telephone. What an odd thought, don’t you think? The feedback loop made possible with instant sharing, and the way it enables us to document anything effortlessly, is really remarkable. My parents’ camera recently broke and I encouraged them to just use their iPhones instead of getting a new one. My dad takes most of his photos with Instagram. For 99 per cent of uses, our phones are not just good enough, they’re actually great!

Of course, there will always be professional cameras for professional uses, but the point and shoot for the casual user – it’s dead.

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