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This is the photo blog for James Glendinning, AKA SLE Photography / SLE Photo / SLEPhotography / SLEPhoto / SilverLight Esoterica Photography.
It contains info on my shoots & exploits and samples of my photos.
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

New networking site for models & photographers!

BIG BIG BIG news! I know this's kind of long winded, but please read the whole thing!

Many of us have been frustrated by the loss of key features & system instability at Model Mayhem, the high rates and unwieldy interface at OneModelPlace, and many other issues at various sites out there. There’re other sites popping up all the time but they’re limited in terms of user bade, features, functionality, or are just plain ugly. I’ve been working with a few other people to help develop a new site that would have the ease of use and viability we’d all like to see. As some of you know, we soft-launched it just about a week ago. So I’d like to invite all of you to take a look at For some of you who received early invites from me, this’s the same site as the I invited you to, that was a temporary/placeholder name. We've changed a LOT so if you registered and haven't been back please see what we've done.

This site is primarily being built by Chris Ambler. For those of you who aren’t aware of his work outside of photography forums, he’s a professional internet guy working for a large & solid hosting & development company. Or, as he likes to say, he runs the internet. J There’re a number of other professionals working in various aspects of modeling & photography who’re on board with & committed to seeing this project grow. He’s putting plenty of resources in to the project, with multiple programmers on tap (believe it or not most of the other sites out there are running on 1 or 2 programmers). As it takes off you’ll see some fantastic content from some big names. We’re planning features on things like model releases, how to handle auditions, staying safe when internet modeling, etc. Craig Seay is also involved with this project and we’re hoping to bring his wildly successful and popular Lists (for those familiar with them on Model Mayhem) here to help models and photographers in various areas network, find mentors, and more. There’s a rumor that Roger Talley of will have his own area to offer industry insider views on the fashion & commercial side of the business.

We’re trying to do things a little differently at this site. For one thing membership is for people 18 and up. It’s NOT an “adult” site, no hardcore images will be allowed (without getting in to a lot of arguments about what constitutes hardcore, there’ll be no penetration or things close to that line) but there’ll be a bit more freedom in terms of some forum topics and discussion, ability to post nudes for critique or use them as avatars, etc. All the people working on the site are heavy users of other sites so we’ve looked at what those sites do right & do wrong, and what the most common user complaints & requests on those sites are, and tried to set this up to address them. While the site’s in soft launch we NEED all of you to use the site and tell us what works, what doesn’t work, what the site NEEDS, what you’d LIKE the site to have, etc. One thing that’s VERY different with this site is that it IS responsive to users. For instance, last night our first male model signed up and he noted that measurements specific to male models (like jacket size) were missing. The programmers had them coded within 10 minutes of posting about it.

Some of the features the site has to start with include:
-Folders to organize your messages
-A “gallery” system to organize your images by type/genre
-The ability to track all your forum posts and be notified when people respond to threads you’re interested in
-A robust forum system with easy to use formatting features
-NO annoying music/film clips or hundreds of pictures in profiles a la MySpace
-A “Connections” system that allows you to link to other users and mark them ad Friends, Want to work with, Worked With, or any combination of the above AND add personalized notes.
-CONTESTS!!! I already mentioned Craig’s involvement, and as the people from Model Mayhem know Craig started the hugely successful Picture of the Day and Picture of the Day 18+ contests. This site has been built with a ROBUST contest system that will allow us to offer several options AND we plan to offer winners real prizes!
-Caturday! Yes, we have Caturday.
-Smarter moderation. Moderators have the ability to merge or split threads, instead of just locking them. So if 2 or 3 threads are started on the same topic they can be merged and no posts lost, or if (for example) a thread on releases spawns a discussion on 2257 the 2257 conversation can be moved to its own thread. Mods can also zap single posts, so if someone posts private information or a hardcore porn image to stop a thread that post can be deleted rather tan having to lose an entire conversation. There’ll be no nonsense with a “brig,” either. If someone can’t follow the (VERY fair & liberal rules) they’ll simply be barred from the forums or asked to leave the site.

Please keep in mind that the site IS NOT finished. We were originally planning to roll it out in a few months. We moved up the Contest portion after Model Mayhem closed the Picture of the Day 18+ contest down under suspicious circumstances, and now the repeated overall failures that Model Mayhem has been experiencing have pushed us to move it up even more since an alternative is clearly needed. So there’s a LOT to be done. The plan is to build a strong Casting Calls section, a good Travel Notice system, and more. It’s all coming. J Right now the site runs SLOWLY because all the code is live and the programmers are working while we surf. It’ll speed up when it goes live.

A few bugs you should be aware of (and a heads-up for those of you who’ve visited the site), some corrected and some being worked on:
-The pic uploader is still balky and a bit unwieldy. It seems to work in some browsers and not others. We’re working to get it running on all browsers & streamline it.
-Integration between the forum side and the portfolio/profile side. This’s on the short list. It’s already been set so the avatar you pick for your portfolio/profile works on the forums, and soon when you click on someone’s name or avatar on the forums it’ll go to their regular profile/portfolio page instead of the current intermediate page.
-The system striping EXIF info from images. This should be fixed ASAP.
-Site speed. Because the site is running with full debugging code live it’s slow. As soon as construction’s done it will speed up hugely.

Those items have been the major complaints, but like I said it’s under construction so if you sign up and see something wrong POST IT so it can be fixed. We WANT to hear from users early on about what this site needs so when it goes wide it’s ready for prime time. I can’t promise we’ll GIVE you everything but you can certainly ASK for it! People who signed up a week or two again who haven’t been back because they didn’t see anything should come back and take a look at what we’ve done! Right now we have just over 100 members (106 in fact, which’s not bad since the site’s not even officially OPEN yet!) and joining early gets you a bunch of advantages besides a cool low member #. For instance, once the system’s done early users will get 200 images and 10 galleries to start.

I know a lot of you love & are very dedicated to other sites, and we’re not asking anyone to give them up. We won’t censor talk about other sites or “bleep” their names (like some of them do), and no one will get hassles here if they grouse about us elsewhere. We’re just trying to offer something that has things a few other places are lacking, and provide a working alternative when other sites have issues or fail. I hope you’ll give us a chance & check it out! PLEASE feel free to pass this along to your friends but if you tell them about the site without passing this along DO let them know the site is NOT done yet!!

X-posted to my photo LJ:

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