Check out the full shop at: phootcamp.bigcartel.com
BC: What is Phoot Camp?
PC: Phoot Camp is an annual creative retreat for the best and brightest emerging photographers. Every year we go somewhere different, but what stays the same is our focus on the fun of photography and the joy of friendship.
BC: How are artists selected to participate in Phoot Camp? What are you looking for in an artist?
PC: Anyone can apply, and in fact you can enter your email address here to be notified when applications open.
What I’m looking for? Someone who plays well with others. Someone who lives to give. Someone with sparkling talent and sparkling personality. Someone bouncing around with ideas. And, as it’s gotten more and more competitive to be accepted into Phoot Camp, I’ve found myself gravitating to photographers who have done work in series form rather than just one offs — it shows drive and passion, and also organized thought. I also find that people who have started or founded things (for example, 2012 attendee William Wilkinson made the Everyday iphone app) have a special initiative that’s inspiring to be around.
BC: How has the camp grown and evolved over the years?
PC: It started out with such humble roots. In 2009, I was no longer editor in chief of then-defunct JPG Magazine, but still in touch with many of the fun, young photographers who I had corresponded with while putting the magazine together. I invited 80 of them come on a camping trip at a Bay Area state park, and 20 of them were crazy enough to say yes.
It was a terrifying experiment (I was sure I would get murdered in the woods), but in the end, it totally worked. I put the work online after the camp and people took note. Brad Smith, friend and also CEO of the stellar website building platform Virb.com, let me know that he was a huge fan and that they wanted to help us keep the camp going through their sponsorship — and they have every year since!
Our adventures have taken us from that first campground, to the outskirts of LA, to the wonder of west Texas, and most recently, to taking over a summer camp in verdant upstate New York.
We’ve grown from 20 the first year, to a cap of 35 in the last few years. What’s most surprising is the growth in audience though. I did the math and we had over a million “viewers” this year, due to our cumulative Instagram followings. (And that’s not even counting other social media!)
BC: Can you give us any hints as to what we can expect in 2013?
PC: It’s hard to say. We’ve covered a few regions of the country now. Maybe the deep South, Midwest, or Pacific Northwest, or maybe somewhere crazy like Iceland. (Everyone’s eyes shoot open when I mention the possibility of Iceland!)
BC: Tell us how you came to choose Big Cartel to power your store. How has your experience been so far?
PC: I chose Big Cartel after asking around in the design community to see what other friends with online stores had chosen. Many folks mentioned great experiences with Big Cartel so I decided to give it a go! I’ve found it very easy to use so far.