A word from editor,

Over the last few months, the BLUR team has been working hard and probably under more pressure than ever before. On the eve our fifth anniversary, things started to get complicated really quickly. It wouldn’t be honest of me to claim it was completely unexpected; however, I did expect certain events to occur a bit further down the line. As with everything in life, the future always finds a way to creep up sooner than we think. For reasons still unknown to us (well, we’re being modest), the number of downloads of our free issues skyrocketed toward the end of 2012, putting us between a rock and a hard place. Our small server began to crash under the influx of tens of thousands of requests, reaching our bandwidth caps and resulting in frequent downtime, which is unacceptable for a digital magazine of any kind, let alone one that serves gigabytes of photo-heavy PDF downloads. We tried switching to Dropbox, but we reached bandwidth caps in mere days, and all other solutions seemed temporary at best.

Huge readership is a reason to celebrate for any magazine, and yet there we were, completely dead in the water with no finances, relying only on server space borrowed from friends to distribute free material in the midst of a financial crisis eating away at the savings and morale of most of the team. After five years, there was simply little left to give. The rest of the story you know: BLUR decided to find a rather drastic solution for this crisis; we reached out to you.

Implementing a payment system that allowed our readers to freely donate $1.00 or more to download our issues proved to be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Although the influx of cash was modest in these first two months, not only did it give us breathing room in terms of server resources and save us from closing down entirely, but it also gave us new wings and a much-needed morale boost. Although it’s too early to make any financial plans, as much of our readership still needs to come to terms with the new order of things, there is reason for optimism. We’ve invested as much as we can to expand, showing that we’re not here for the profit but to offer a better BLUR experience to a wider international audience as well as to grow into a bigger promotional platform for even more photographers in search of exposure.

And we’ve started immediately.

As soon as we were able, we launched a completely new, special edition called BLUR Gallery 2012, which is freely available for download from our website. Also, you might have noticed that this issue came out a month early. There’s nothing wrong with your calendar—indeed, we’re going to ramp up production to a bi-monthly cycle, churning out at least six issues in 2013. Our new issues have been redesigned and optimized for viewing on the iPad and other tablets. We’ve increased the amount of whitespace, enlarged the font, enlarged all hyperlinks and improved the navigation. We’ve expanded Gallery 24 into Gallery 36 and introduced three new editorials covering photography genres previously less prominent in BLUR. And as a cherry on top, we’re now able to afford a proper dedicated web server and are working on a brand new website that will be launched in the coming weeks, equipped with a responsive HTML theme compatible with PCs, tablets, and smartphones alike. And that’s just the beginning; we’re preparing to launch many more surprises from this upgraded platform in the coming months.

In a way, you could say that, thanks to you, we get to thank you even more—by giving you more of what we do best: great photography, more accessible, more often.

So let’s keep those shutters clicking.

Robert Gojevic | founder | editor in chief

CLOSE-UP Eolo Perfido, Italy

"There are different types of creative photographers. I think all the elements you mentioned are fundamental. For me personally, the people on my team are a very important factor. After all, the photography world is a bit like cinema: many different skills come together in the process and every one of them needs to be rewarded financially. The photographer is like the director, the one that has to make the whole shoot work. Knowing how to manage different resources is a key element in advertising photography. "

PROJECT Julien Mauve & Pauline Ballet, France

"As we began imagining a mutual project, Pauline and I really wanted to create something special, which hadn't been done before... so we decided to write about the most common theme of the universe : love."

WET PLATE Ed Ross, USA

"Wet plate photography is relatively difficult to do well consistently. And by "to do well" in this context, I mean to create plates with good contrast and artifact-free, or "clean." The literature, historic and modern, is replete with "problem solving" recipes for one ailment or another. I have had my fair share of head-scratching problems. Those problems are a frustration when you are trying to work your way through to a resolution, especially when they are spoiling a shoot. But there is also satisfaction in that problem-solving process. No, I would not change a thing."

INSTANTION Andrea Tonellotto, Italy

"Surely it’s the fact that you have pastel colors, a bit in contrast with the sharpness of the digital photography so fashionable now. This gives instant photos a retro, dreamy look that fascinates me so much. It also helps to create the atmosphere I’m after in my pictures. Magic! Even now, it still amazes me when the picture develops in my hand—simply magic!"

PLAYSTICK Erin McGuire, USA

"On The Surface is a new and ongoing body of work that explores my feelings of deception and abandonment. The recent discovery and diagnosis of a life-threatening illness for a beloved family member, along with the realization that the illness had gone unnoticed for some time, has forced me to look at my life and my work in a new way. These images of abandoned homes are digital composites made from Holga negatives to intentionally deceive the viewer. How the deception manifests itself is left to the personal history, emotions, and imagination of the individual viewing the image."

PINHOLE Victor Senkov, Belarus

"I mostly used medium format cameras and was never interested in pinhole photography before. When I had my Bronica stolen, I ordered a new camera.But for a month I had only an old Lubitel in my hands. I decided to make a pinhole on its base. The idea was to use it independent of the main glass waist level finder. It took about an hour to remove the glass, cut a plate from a can, and make a hole with a needle and hammer. I didn’t make any calculations. It was a pure act of creation."

ANALOG WABI SABI Kitamura Mika, Japan

"As I look at photographs, what comes to my mind is always the same: what is it that’s not there? What is it that the photographer chose to omit? Thinking about these things helps me to see the photographs a little bit more precisely. The next thing I consider is that we live surrounded by the enormous number of things that we did not choose, as opposed to the things that we did. How is it that we don’t see/choose them? This is exactly how we reach the point of seeing/choosing, by permission and not through refusal.."

TETRA Yury Bird, Ukraine

"Long exposures, sharp light transitions, meditative minimalism, and a theme of loneliness – all come together in my photographic style. I don’t have any heroes in photography, but I really enjoy the masterpieces of Ansel Adams, Michael Kenna, and David Fokos. In some ways, I could call them my teachers. I prefer works in black and white, but I also work joyfully with color as well. Photography is a lifestyle, a form of self-expression, and a meditation, while at the same time it’s sorrow and gladness."

WIDE Deon Reynolds, USA

"Investigating and documenting the rich history of the American West has become a passion of mine. What appears to be a desolate, abandoned, corral most of the time, comes to life in the Spring when cattle are gathered and the annual ritual of sorting and branding occur. I am drawn to the stark landscape of the Great Basin where ranching still happens the old fashioned way."

OPEN Yurian Quintanas Nobel, Netherlands/Spain

"Every year, on the 19th of August, thousands of Orthodox, moved by faith, flock to the holy mountain of Grabarka to celebrate the Transfiguration. Many of them arrive on foot, on their knees or carry the traditional Orthodox cross for many miles as a sacrifice to God. On their arrival, the pilgrims place their crosses into the ground and start to pray. They continue their prayers throughout the night, hoping to receive health for themselves and their families and salvation for their dead ancestors."

PROEYECT Simon Lalia, Germany

"The last meal is a customary part of a condemned prisoner's last day."

Gallery 24