Random Thoughts by Fabien Penso

Heritage is closing

I started working on Heritage in 2012 to have a place for film analog photographers to show and tell about their work. To enforce quality and consistency over the site, I put an invitation system in place, and existing members had to invite you if you wanted to upload photos. It also allowed you to have your gallery on your domain, a feature still used as of today by some of you.

Years going, other projects got me very busy, and I never invested enough energy for Heritage to take off. My last code contribution is over five years old; some libraries are outdated, not maintained, or even have known bugs. If I had to redo Heritage today, I would do it very differently. But upgrading the existing code would take too much effort, and let’s also be honest, there are now better ways to show your work than what I did.

Since then, more options became available for photographers to easily publish their work, Adobe Portfolio, Squarespace, Format, Exposure or even Medium and WordPress. Many photographers are simply using Instagram.

With all that in mind and the very little time I have, I see no other option than taking the website offline. Therefore, I will close Heritage on January 1st, 2021, and delete all pictures and its database.

I still think a place for analog photographers to converse and share is needed. Instagram went from a photography app to a lifestyle full-time bloated advertisement application for influencers; Facebook became a useless service; Flickr never really came back following its multiple acquisitions; 500px isn’t the same. We all consume a massive amount of data from one photo to another, rarely stopping and taking things slow. We (I?) badly need a way to view and discuss pictures we care about without the noise brought by the previously mentioned services.

Curated and handcrafted works matter. I wish I had a place for analog photographers to feel safe and at home. If you had an account on Heritage, I want to thank you for being part of this experiment. I hope to meet all of you one day or another, and keep shooting films!

Some approximated numbers about the project:

  • 3,082 photos
  • 223 stories
  • 171 photographers
  • 4,473 ~300 user accounts, rest was spam
  • 14,362 email addresses
  • 398 comments and likes
  • 3,510,993 (3.5 million) total views on photos
  • ~1,500 euros cost. Mostly hosting at DigitalOcean and paid by me only.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of photographers who participated, whom work I like.

Which photographers do you enjoy most? What tools and platform do you use to view and discuss with peers?