Christina Rankin ~ Yesteryear

Christina Rankin ~ Yesteryear

We crossed the twenty-five thousand images mark here on Pixels. It happened the other day. According to my calculations, Christina Rankin’s “Yesteryear” was the 25,000th image posted on Pixels!

I discovered this when I was looking for something in the database: I have been asked to speak next week at large software company’s “motivational/inspirational” quarterly lunch gathering. The person who asked me to speak is well versed in Pixels history and felt that the story, if framed properly, would inspire team members throughout the organization.

Last year at this time, I was asked to speak at the mDAC conference in Palo Alto & I felt lucky to get gas money. Actually I had to rent a car, I couldn’t drive mine at the time due to parking tickets and expired registration. This year, I am being paid a fee, a very hefty fee, for an hour talk. Am I bragging? Hell yes!

These are the notes for my talk:

  • Inspiration/Serendipity
  • Vision — And the power derived therefrom, i.e., Curation, The Battle Over Off-Device Editing & finding corporate sponsorship for Warhol Show, etc.
  • Exploration/Focus
  • Persistence/Determination
  • Integrity/Service/Community/team building
  • Tacky nudes – public apology (one of many)
  • Also the widespread promotion and featuring of art nudes/still-lifes/abstracts and other traditional forms in realm of the plastic arts.
  • Trusting people/making sure common goals
  • Suddenly changing the relationship or goal, perhaps unwittingly, to be avoided. Other challenges and mistakes.
  • Technical challenges/going offline, big mistake/painfully slow rebuilding of traffic to 1K visitors a day
  • The eventual embracing of iPhoneography by the photographic community (and who cares?)
  • Smooth sailing. Ha ha.

Inasmuch as I’d like to say that I’ve been perfect in my stewardship of Pixels since late 2009, I have made many mistakes and I intend to share those as well as the good and great things we have accomplished here at Pixels.

It’s been a little over five years since I began actively curating Pixels, a scary time, since I didn’t know if everybody would quit sending in pictures. The opposite turned out to be true. Pictures began to pour in and I had to figure out what we were doing here. What I finally came down to was this: the only thing I had to offer the community was my own integrity and honesty, my own truth. I had no money, no power in the real world. But I knew we were doing something brand-new here and I could fight for the medium and my artists. Which I did.

We waged the battle over off-device editing. It was Pixels against all the “photographers” on that one, with iPhoneArt & EyeEm still allowing photoshopped images … they didn’t care: they wanted to accumulate numbers. We know what eventually happened with iPhoneArt. EyeEm has pulled in $25 million in venture capital! Damn … I think they should share, don’t you?! I’m kidding, really: I wish Flo and the gang great success.

Other bloggers hung back, waiting to see how the wind ultimately blew. Needless to say, Pixels and our aesthetic prevailed.

From the beginning, I went for quality and purity of process. We still do on Pixels.

As I say, 2010 was a strange and scary and very exciting time: we, as a community, were creating and defining the soul of a new medium. I got swept up, a hostage on a runaway train. Thank God for Maia Panos in those days. She was a great one for bouncing ideas off of and she was indispensable in the early curation of Pixels: her taste was impeccable.

And now we’ve crossed the 25,000 curated image mark. As I’ve said many times, it is the artists of Pixels who set the bar for the site, as well as the whole global community. Everybody knows this to be true.

We have featured and discovered so many artists over the years, giving them global exposure and acclaim. Pixels leads, others follow. That hasn’t changed.

Back in 2012 I made a list of our firsts here on Pixels. I was still smarting from all the trials and tribulations of 2011 and I guess I was trying tell myself I wasn’t a complete failure. Like in AA, they tell you to make a gratitude list when you find yourself sinking into a swirling sucking vortex of despair. Here is what I came up with:

  • First three juried iphonic art gallery shows ever: First, Giorgi 2010; Second juried show, OakBook 2010. Third juried show, OCCCA 2011.
  • First and only curated daily iphonic art site. Still the case!
  • First article in NY Times.
  • First feature article in major metro daily (SJ Mercury News)
  • First traveling iphonic art show: OCCCA, Arty Gallery, Giorgi in 2011.
  • First Apple store iphonic art events around the country. (SF, LA, Chicago, NYC)
  • First iphonic art print magazine: P1XELS (short-lived, but wonderful, and … copies are still available online!)
  • First large-format print show (LACDA 2012)
  • First gallery show write-up in national press (Washington Post)
  • First iPhonic art exhibit broadcast throughout the Middle East on the Voice of America network.
  • I’m sure there are others, but I quit taking notes in 2012.

You must know that I am writing this to avoid working on my presentation. But writing this is helping me sort through my thoughts. Thank you!

Okay, I’m done bragging. Time to get back to work. This really helped me sort out my ideas.

As always, if I’ve managed to once again piss off some of the usual suspects, all the better.

And thank you for the 160K or so images you’ve sent in over the years. I’ve enjoyed looking at every single one.