A fair few years ago now, way before I set up 35mmc, I set up a photography forum by the name of Real Photographers Forum. It’s still going today, so I thought I might draw a bit of attention to it, especially since it’s been a little quiet recently and deserves a little bit of a boost! I also know that a few of our readers here also frequent the DPReview forums, which – including its analogue forum – is being shut down soon. So, if you are a member there, and looking for a new forum home, then maybe RPF is the place for you.
Of course, RPF is nothing like the size of DPR. It’s also, always – without any question – been a much less hostile place to share photos and thoughts about photography. I like to think of this lack of hostility as a headline feature of 35mmc. I was very pleased to have this recognised in the comments section when I posted about our 10 year anniversary the other day. But, whilst creating a website that feels like a safe place for discussion was key part of my goals when I set up 35mmc, I actually started down that road much earlier when I built RPF. At the time I’d been heavily into my HiFi and had frequented a few HiFi forums. I learnt a lot from those forums about how they should be run… and how they shouldn’t… I also became quite pally with a few folks in the HiFi world, one of whom suggested that if I were to set up a photography forum, perhaps it should be set up in a way that encourages people to use their real name. The idea being that if people were to use their real name, perhaps they would feel slightly less inclined to be hostile towards others. Of course, years down the line, Facebook has largely proven that people are just as likely to be horrible to each other whilst not only giving away their real name, but also sharing a whole load of other personal information on public profiles. There’s no accounting for the actions of some human beings… I digress. At the time, I really liked the idea, and because of the real name concept, the forum was launched under the name of ‘Real Photographers Forum’. It was to be a forum where real people could share their photos, thoughts, experiences and questions about photography in a safe space without the worry of trolls or any mischief from other forum members. I ran it for a few years, it began to grow, and for a time was quite a busy forum.
Then, as I described in my 35mmc 10 year anniversary post, I became a little obsessed with point and shoot film cameras and decided to set up 35mmc. Not long after that, I’d lost interest in running a forum and decided to hand the reins to one of the forum’s OG members, someone who had become a friend of mine, a chap called Pete Askew. Pete carried on running the forum for the next decade, but without me there talking about gear via a long-since-removed news pages, the traffic to the website very slowly dwindled. All that remained was a small core group of members that shared and chatted about their own photography.
And then disaster struck. Unfortunately, due to the platform the website was built on not being updated for around ten years, someone managed to hack it. I have to say, I thought this might be the end of it. They messed with the structure of the website and somehow managed to break the forum enough that it was unusable. They then created another website within the domain and used it to attempt to sell what appeared to be fake fashion clothing. It was a mess. Fortunately, in the time since I created the forum, the people who run the platform it’s built on, Xenforo, have launched a hosted version of the software. By switching to the hosted version, they were able to access the old forum and membership content, salvage it in its entirety and relaunch the website without any trace of the issues caused by the hackers.
At this stage, Pete asked for my help to bring it back to its former state in terms of the design. Thankfully, this wasn’t too difficult, but the process gave me a little bit of nostalgia for the old place. Whilst browsing through some old posts, it crossed my mind that some of the 35mmc regulars might find themselves enjoying it there. Of course, since RPF was taken down when it was hacked, it’s been quieter than ever, so I’m also hoping that by sending a few of you over there, it might get something of a boost too.
The community we have here at 35mmc is 100% compatible with the ethos of RPF, and so for anyone wanting to share the odd photo without the commitment of having to write a blog post to go with it, or indeed anyone wanting a place to post questions about photography or discuss ideas they might have in a more open ended way that isn’t quite as compatible with the ethos of a blog, RPF might be the place to go.
You can find the forum here, and register via the link top right. It’s free to register, and thanks to the relatively low running costs, Pete funds it himself so there’s no ads either! Let me know if you have any questions, else go check it out, join up, and get posting!
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