The State of PetaPixel 2022: At the Nexus of Technology and Art
PetaPixel has changed a lot in the more than 10 years it has existed, but perhaps no more the case than what we’ve done over the last two years. Because of this, we thought it best to lay out what we are doing here, why we are doing it, and what you can expect going forward.
First of all, to those who do not know me, I’d like to introduce myself: My name is Jaron Schneider and I’ve been covering photography and imaging for more than a decade. For a majority of that time, I was just a writer and reviewer, but in 2020 I took over as Editor in Chief of PetaPixel from my very good friend DL Cade who left to pursue other career goals.
Over the course of the next year, I worked with the site’s founder Michael Zhang to transition what was a photo blog into an true tech publication. We adapted AP Style, created an editing pipeline, built a newsroom, formalized our operating procedures, and dramatically expanded the team. Earlier this year, we took the next big step by hiring a full-time news editor, Matt Growcoot.
Today, we now have dedicated experts that cover a swathe of imaging disciplines, from camera experts to those who focus on following stories on how imaging actually affects daily life. On top of that, we have maintained my goal of only bringing on staff who have been photographers at some point in their careers so that we don’t lose sight of our roots.
Our goal is to provide photographers and videographers with a place that discusses all aspects of their discipline, from the tools they use to how using their skills affects those around them.
So, with all that in mind, let’s talk about a few things.
What We Cover and Why
Our goal here is to be holistic. We don’t think it’s enough to just talk about photos, equipment, and photo projects because photography as a medium is so much more than that. We want to challenge you to think about how your photos affect the people around you, how people are using photography in new ways, and discuss new trends that very well might shape the future of the art.
For example, that’s why artificial intelligence (AI) has been such a big focus for us in 2022: it really has the potential to change everything we know about photography (and arguably already is). For us to stick our heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening is doing a disservice to everyone who we serve.
And that’s the key here, right? We’re doing this to serve you. The goal of PetaPixel’s editorial team is to provide you with information about this industry you love and work in.
‘What Does This Have to do With Photography?’
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen this question asked on PetaPixel over the last couple of years, and now I want to actually talk about it. As we have grown and expanded our coverage, we’ve started to cover topics that — on the surface — don’t seem like a traditional fit for what the site has covered in the past. It doesn’t take long for some of you to tell us, loudly, in the comments that you don’t understand why we’re even talking about it.
As mentioned above, it’s because we think it has an impact on the environment that photographers and creators work in.
It is also important to recognize that just because we cover a story, that doesn’t mean implicit support of the subject being discussed. Even Opinion stories are the opinion of one writer, not the publication.
Also, while news is very important to us, we put significant effort into deep-dive features, which include both what we call “Spotlight” stories as well as investigative pieces. Spotlight is especially important to us, as those are stories about art projects that shows the technology we spend so much time covering in practical use cases.
As you’ve probably noticed, PetaPixel has started producing reviews in-house. Last year, we created a detailed internal document that guides how we approach reviews. We also brought on several experts in the field who have years of experience.
Our reviews of products are based on our opinions resulting from hands-on tests, and — regardless of our relationship with the companies behind them — are not always favorable.
We take the responsibility of evaluating equipment extremely seriously. We only write how we actually feel about products regardless of how that makes a manufacturer feel. By expressing our true feelings on something, that may cause a rift between us and a manufacturer, but that’s isn’t as important to us as being truthful to you. Reviews can never be bought, are never influenced by what a company wants us to say, and we never censor any of our writers from saying what they truly feel.
On that note…
Sponsored Stories and the Editorial Wall
As stated in our public disclosure page, PetaPixel will always be transparent about content for which disclosures are needed. We will clearly state when content is sponsored by a company or if there may be a conflict of interest present in our coverage. Unless otherwise indicated, all other content is published without any sponsorship from businesses or individuals.
We keep our advertising and our editorial content strictly separate. Advertisers do not have influence over our content, nor do we ever accept any form of compensation in exchange for articles unless it’s clearly marked sponsored content.
In fact, even when our writing team is tasked with writing sponsored content, at no point is the company allowed to speak directly with our writing team. Our sales team works directly with our editorial team to provide prompts, at which point editorial works directly with writers. This staggered, multi-tiered format prevents our staff from being unduly influenced by advertising and allows them to remain objective.
In the last year, PetaPixel also introduced what are known as “Showcase” stories. Showcases were created as a way to allow companies to sponsor time with a product that we would normally not have the budget to allocate to it. Showcases are definitely not reviews, but we also don’t accept showcases for products we don’t actually like. The opinions stated in Showcases are 100% legitimately how the writer feels about a product as well. That said, we encourage readers to do additional research on products that we feature as Showcases to make sure that they are making informed buying decisions.
At the Nexus of Technology and Art
Overall, PetaPixel aims to be the voice that exists between technology and its many uses. Think of the site as a way to get a daily snapshot of everything that matters to a visual creator, and we’ll continue to have our news team aim its voice in a way that best presents that information to you as neutrally as possible so you can make your own decisions about this discipline we all love.
The photography, videography, and illustration disciplines are constantly overlapping — now more than ever before — so expect PetaPixel to push out of the traditional box it has lived in for the last several years. We’ll start to dabble in examining products and investigating subjects that are definitely not specifically about photography, but certainly inform or affect it.
Also, this story is also being sent out as part of our weekly newsletter Clipped Highlights. If you haven’t joined that mailing list, we hope you consider it as it will be where we will share our top stories over the last week as well as unique stories made just for Clipped Highlights delivered right to your inbox.
Finally, I want to thank you all for reading PetaPixel. See you all in 2023!
Image credits: Elements of header photo licensed via Depositphotos.