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.
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 Gojević, founder and editor in chief