Before our summary for the year that was, here’s a forecast and declaration for where we are heading.
Specific to the camera world, I see a very concentrated and continued shift towards niche markets. The professional or enthusiast photographer who requires a particular workflow will refine their set up to reflect their needs now that a proliferation of options and exhausting pixel power is available.
In 2020 here at Lula we are going to be offering articles that give concrete pathways for building your specific rig. The chain of camera, lens, accessory, post-processing programs to print needs will continue to refine, and we will be illustrating the best way to plan your set up or change it.
We enter an era where the one size fits all attempt by individual camera companies will continue to decline as will superfluous gimmicks and the aggressive push for a merely impressive resolution.
The fear of the camera phone market destroying the traditional camera market will meet its true acceptance stage. As the dust settles and the resolution on our actual needs is exposed, the camera companies who have found their strengths and culture will thrive as they downsize and focus on their already cultivated edge. New and adventurous, or self-reflective and reflexive companies who do not wish for world domination will find dedicated followers and consumers. At Lula we want to help locate what set-up you need for your most streamlined photography.
More importantly, we will be deepening our look at ways to open up one’s practice — the inspiration and motivation to keep practicing and experimenting. We will be offering all types of fun and useful examples of how photography can embolden ones views, life, and relationship to the world. We will continue to provide a thorough look at why we, as photographers, inherit an exceptional place within the world of art and image-making. We want you to come away from every video, every article, and every essay grabbing your camera and heading out the door or diving into post-production to refine your craft with a new sense of purpose.
Where we’ve been, and a little about us:
It’s been a stellar year full of change, experimentation, and growth here at Lula. We are grateful to the loyal community, and those who’ve recently joined us. The team has a tremendous amount of excitement for the year upcoming, which will be filled with refinements of our current path and further adventurous directions of our own on the photographic journey.
Two years ago, Irene and I had no clue that we’d be running my late father’s site. The transition into doing so came as a shock. It was a strange challenge presented; it was also impossible to turn down.
We were informed that the previous management had ended their tenure as managers, and their option to purchase the site from my late father had lapsed. I was suddenly presented with a choice, ostensibly give the site away, close it down or try my hand at the family business, which was not initially designed as a business but had become one. My father had tirelessly published his knowledge and it had amounted to a premier education in photography. I had grown up watching him photograph and write, and I knew the hours and years spent building Lula. We jumped into action. There was a lot to learn about how to helm the site, on every level imaginable.
I had worked for the last seven years being an independent filmmaker. (my first feature premiers in 2020!) Before that, I spent twenty years as a recording and touring musician and within the music industry. While always interested in the vanguard of photography and media, I was never a proper technologist. I had actually filed for patents of my own, been a part of learning media-tech as it arrived but I was foremost a trained and life long fine artist. My father’s love for gear (photographic and other) and its evolution was where we differed. My focus has always been on the spiritual, philosophical and intuitive aspects of art, including photography. The poetic and magical has always guided me, with the tools merely switching shape as needed.
Respecting Lula as a premier site for camera technology education was an essential part of assuming running it. I wanted the focus to remain tech-forward and relevant, maybe even more so than in the past. This truth meant using my skills and knowing where they were limited.
My wife Irene is a trained filmmaker having spent years on set as a producer and AD. A university trained technological strategist with 3d companies; she has also recently developed her first mobile to a consul video game. We saw the site as a place where a look at photography, art, technology, and industry could continue to meet uniquely, and we aspired to bring our views to this mission. We also wanted to expand the scope of the site. We knew we would have to call upon our extensive connections and the great depth of this community to fill the spaces we could not. Community is what has always made The Luminous Landscape so special. It is a place built on the experience of its passionate practitioners and professional contributors, not one voice.
My dad Michael Reichmann started this site as a blog 21 years ago (!). It was a place that married the new platform of empowering media, which the web provided with the simultaneous blooming digital camera revolution. He used this confluence to share all that he was experimenting with it. A knack for timing and a DIY approach were some of his gifts.
It became Michael’s vehicle for expression and a way to offer a photographic education to others in a no-nonsense and compassionate style. This unique time was pre- YouTube and Instagram. A very different era, as recent as it seems. As time went on, his focus moved from a mix of gear reviews and personal expression to a deeper dive into the meaning of the photographer’s POV. He passed away just as this last motivation was finding it’s legs. This last focus of his has found a continuum now, and I’m excited to build upon that with you all.
Last year the site grew in membership and our daily visits also grew across the board. The numbers of views on articles tripled on average and our experimenting meant lots of user feedback, which we are taking cue from. The site continues to grow in reach as people discover it, and naturally pivot in direction every year. For sure, the core impetuous remains the same, exploring camera tech and the philosophy and techniques of photography.
My spin is on cognition, perception, ecology, and examining the why or poetry of photography from a less conventional angle.
We have also found uber competent tech writers like Dan Wells, celebrated filmmaker, and travel video producers like Nick Taylor and Matt Bennett, webmasters like Chris Batt and a CTO like Irene Cortes. All of whom, along with your continued support, have helped us grow in this age of over mediation online.
The Luminous Landscape is an evolving project, but our mandate is to rise above the flashy and exhausting world of quick-fix gimmicky photo culture. Our core enthusiasm derives from following the sense of honest investigation which my father pursued. It’s a tricky dance, and we will never satisfy everyone all of the time, but I believe it is the motivation to explore, which is at the heart of photographic culture.
Whatever captures our attention, whether it is the ever re-calibrating camera tech world, the continuous re-ordering of the industry, or the ever-present desire to refine each of our processes. I am dedicated to genuinely following the muse and offering a unique window unto the photographer’s experience.
I’m glad to have met many of you here in the dedicated Lula community and I thank you for the many messages of positive feedback and encouragement, and for those who are dipping in now and then, I hope you’ll continue to do so. For the newcomer, I’m certain that you’ll find hours of useful and enlightening writing and video on the site.
The site is about to get an aesthetic and functional makeover, which will make navigating the almost 6000 articles and tutorials much more manageable. The forum will remain aesthetically the same with a necessary update to the UX software.
On a personal note, Irene and I just had our second daughter Sol Reichmann two months ago, and it’s been a whirlwind of adjustment, struggle, and teary joy. Finding balance with a toddler and new born is difficult and the usual losses and challenges are more pronounced when set in relief to the magic and craziness of having young ones. This year was filled with losing many loved ones and finding hope and faith in unexpected places. It was a year of unexpected challenges and gifts. We count our blessings and mourn those who are no longer with us, as I am sure is true for many of you.
We are grateful to all members, and we extend an ongoing invitation to join us as this next year begins, and the adventure continues. We are a unique community here, and it is each of you, long term members, and newcomers alike, which make this the special place it continues to be in this 21 first year!
The pitch: The site costs about 3 cents a day (!) to explore it’s 21 years worth of content. Subscribe now to help us keep the lights on as we explore the future together.
Let’s all find out what our photography can be in 2020!
Josh Reichmann + Irene Cortes and the Lula Team