It’s been quite a while since I wrote one of these! The last one was in April of 2020, when it felt like the entire world was under lockdown. It was a challenging time, for sure, but we were determined to keep the site going, make good on the promises we made to our members, and find ways to help the larger creative community. Looking back on it all now, I’m super proud of what our small team was able to accomplish. But it’s no exaggeration to say that if it weren’t for our members and supporters, Booooooom wouldn’t have survived. When advertisers disappeared or projects got canceled, we could continue on thanks to many of you!
For those who may not know, our core team for the last few years has consisted of just 4 people: Myself, Levi, Kimi (my sister), and Anna (who recently moved onto another job and even though we’re so sad to say goodbye, we’re also excited for her because she’s so talented and deserves it!). We also have friends/freelancers who fill in the gaps and whose support we’ll be forever thankful for. And big thanks to my wife, Maiko, and Levi’s wife, Shannon, who help with packing books, folding t-shirts and a million other things. The fact that Boooooom is a global arts platform, with a loyal audience from 100+ countries, is actually pretty amazing considering the limited resources we have had.
I’m not sharing this to get sympathy; we love what we do and we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t. I’m telling you this so you can all share in our sense of pride and accomplishment in what Booooooom has become. You’re all part of it.
Prior to the pandemic, many of you filled out a lengthy survey and gave us a lot of helpful feedback. Our goal was to address the requests that came up the most: More physical things (books, t-shirts, etc), and more opportunities available to members. Over the past 2 years, we’ve published over 500 features on our site, featured over 300 artists and photographers in print, organized public art installations, purchased work directly from people in this community, launched our first photo awards, self-published several books (Magic Hour, Tomorrow’s Talent Vol. II, Quiet, and Circles), helped a handful of you produce your own books, and we just launched a new collection of t-shirts.
We’ve steadily increased the frequency of initiatives for members. While our next art book, Tomorrow’s Talent III, is being printed, we’ve held calls for submissions for two more books, CARE (for women-identifying artists and photographers) and Pictures & Songs (a black & white photo book). The open call that’s active right now is for our Art & Photo Book Award (we’re picking six more people to turn their work into books for free). In the coming months we will also have opportunities to submit to Capture Photography Festival’s Featured Exhibition (a group show we are curating), and our 2023 Photo Awards, as well as two more art books. There is a calendar on our membership page so you can see what open calls are coming up next. If you want to become a member and start submitting your work, head over here – we would love to have you!
It’s now been 15 years since Booooooom began! 15 YEARS! It’s hard to believe. Super huge high-fives and big hugs to all our members and supporters who have stuck with us and given us the freedom to continue to try new things. We really value your feedback, so please let us know what we can do better.
The last thing I want to talk about is that starting June 1st, we will be increasing our membership fees for new members. If you are an existing member, this will not affect you at all. We always want to be honest with you about what’s going on. Some of the plans we have in the works will require some more help and the costs of running this site are steadily increasing (like everything else in the world). I want to emphasize that there will be no price increase for existing members (and anyone who wants to join or reactivate an account before June 1st). We are still working on what the increase will be, but expect a small change on monthly and yearly memberships.
Thanks for reading all of this, hopefully it gives you a better idea of all the things we have going on! If you’re an artist or photographer and wanna take part in the upcoming opportunities, come try out our membership! If you don’t make things but you still wanna show your support for Booooooom, grab a t-shirt or a book! All of it helps us keep doing what we love—helping creators do what they love.
— Jeff Hamada, Editor-In-Chief
If you have a specific series or a cohesive selection of work that you want to turn into a book, we want to see it.