The WeStreet public book project started on August 4th and what an intense ride it was.
Some 15 to 20.000 photographs have been submitted where about 70 to 75% has been rejected in the pre-curating process. The choice to pre-curate has been widely accepted by all participants with a 98% approval rate in the poll we did on this subject. The choice to pre-curate was a bit of a concern to since I am by no means an authority on street photography. Also, if can shoot the streets doesn't necessarily mean that one can judge a photograph as well. That the participants accepted this so overwhelmingly was a pleasant surprise for all of us.
The duration of the submission period with two months was experienced by me as a long time and next year this period will probably be shortened towards five to six weeks. The intense and time consuming process to curate hundreds of photographs each day was a journey I've learned a lot from though.
The pre-selecting into the pre-selection group was also an intense experience. That process is very subjective and all moderators handle this differently, but we learned from each other. The pre-selection process was a success since this was the first time we did this. For next year I have some ideas for improvement though. I'd like to invite some professionals by that time to pre-curate our selections before they enter the pre-selection group. I'm thinking of people who have earned their merrits in processing, composing and other photography techniques. The process could look a bit like this by which it becomes a bit less subjective.
- Preselecting by moderators into a secret group only visible to WS staff;
- A small selected team of professionals judge our pre-selections on processing, composition, etc. and delete those who they do not see as strong enough;
- The remaining photographs will be shared into the public pre-selection group;
- The final selection will be created by all staff members.
During the final selection process the five of us all selected 40 photographs to be published in the book where we all had one option to delete one selected shot from the others. A total of 225 shots (including three from each admin) were selected from 154 photographers and taken in 39 different countries. We are proud and thankfull to all that have participated and made this very diverse book possible.
Me chasing a lot of photographers to send us their 300dpi file which we needed to have a high quality print was very stressfull to me. Messaging, posting requests, collecting, keeping a database, changing file names, etc, etc. Not a cool job, but had to be done. I hope for a faster response from the selected photographers next year :)
Then the choice for Blurb as a tool to handle creating the book was the best option we had on such short notice. Blurb however is not cheap and the pricing can scare off potental buyers. I'm very happy with the quality they deliver, but I will be on the look out for a cheaper, but not of a lesser quality alternative for next year. I'd like to emphasize once more that we don't make any money of this project and we have to buy the book through Blurb at the same price as everyone else.
Composing the book, typing the index of photographers and adding all necessary information was a hell of a job, but very much worth it. The result looks stunning to me... All because of your amazing submitted photography!
Last but not least, we created a dedicated WeStreet website where all the amazing work can be viewed, the book can be ordered and a possible future blog can be followed. Check that site out!
All said, I think this project has been a huge success. This was the first time and many things could've gone wrong. The response from all participants was amazingly positive and very encouraging to me to repeat this next year.
I would like to thank my fellow admins Steven Gonzalez, Arek Rataj, Marius Vieth and my wife Sandra for their support and amazing jobs they did. Above all thank you all participants for your fabulous entries, creating a positive vibe in the group and excellent feed back throughout the whole project!