Say hi to Laura Brunow Miner, one of our esteemed jurors in this year’s Photography Book Now competition, and a dynamic force in the photography world today. Laura is the founder of Pictory, an online publication that showcases visual storytelling by photographers worldwide. She also started Phootcamp, a creative retreat and photography workshop. She’s a wealth of information and inspiration when it comes to photography and community. Read on for her thoughts and insights below.
Blurb: Can you talk about the importance of nurturing online and offline communities, particularly as it relates to photographers?
Laura: As the founder of a creative retreat for emerging photographers, Phoot Camp, I’ve seen first hand the benefits of the strong friendships that come out of meeting in person. The online social networks help keep us close between the annual events. I believe that the special moments with friends and loved ones are the best things in life, so I work hard to help others make creative, professional, and personal connections.
Blurb: As a photographer, how have online communities helped you to hone your craft?
Laura: I’ve definitely gotten my 10,000 hours (the number of hours Malcolm Gladwell claims it takes to become an expert on a subject) at viewing photos, and I can never get enough. The Internet helps me stay on top of this addiction.
Blurb: As someone so dedicated to sharing work online, what do you see as the importance of having a real, physical book of your photographs?
Laura: My friend Robin Sloan wrote a great post about stock vs. flow in terms of content production/sharing:
“Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist.
Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.”
Books are the ultimate stock, Internet sharing is flow. A balance is crucial.
Blurb: Is there anything we didn’t ask you that you think would be helpful or informative to anyone entered in or thinking of entering PBN 2011?
Laura: Pardon the plug, but for photographers who are new to writing, submitting to Pictory (the online photo documentary site that I run) can be great practice. Anyone can submit one captioned photo to any of my social documentary themes (“Overseas and Overwhelmed”). Then I pick the best images and work with the photographers to edit the caption. It can be a great way to get your thoughts organized and have a chance to get some new eyes on your work.
Blurb: Thanks, Laura. Good advice and great information. Friendly reminder to all of you out there – the deadline for submissions for this year’s Photography Book Now is July 14. Looking forward to seeing your book!