I retired the Utah Photojournalism website yesterday. You can read the farewell here:
It’s a sad thing, but something that’s been on my mind for a year now. I said everything I wanted to say in the farewell post, but I just responded to a friend who commented about it as well. I wrote this to him:
I see your point about a post that might have lit a fire under people to post more, but keep in mind that I’ve been lighting fires under people for years, mostly to no effect. It gets really old trying to motivate people who really don’t care, and after all the time I had put into that site, I was done. If I thought that I could have rallied the troops, I would have. But so many times over the last five years, such calls to arms failed over and over and over again.
And then I typed this part to him, but deleted it before hitting send:
It might be hard for people to understand, but after putting in so many hours over five years coding, designing, posting, commenting, updating, shrinking down the 24 megapixel photos people would upload, backing it up, etc., just knowing that the site was still there in such a weak state, I couldn’t take it. I guess you would only understand that if you had put in as much time as I had.
And I’m writing this now:
I almost shut it down a year ago, so by the time this month rolled around it was like I’d been keeping a dying pet alive just because I couldn’t bring myself to end it mercifully.
And I’m writing this and stopping:
Imagine you had a restaurant and you put a large part of your life into building it and making everything look and taste just right. And for a while people came and it was the best thing ever. And then you noticed that they were coming less and less. And there were some really cool people out there that loved the food but never even stepped in the door. And after a while there were some really cool regulars, but they only came once a month. And days would pass with no customers. And you continued to put in the time polishing the bar, staring at the front door to see if anyone was coming in.
That’s what it was like at the end. It felt like death.