Something good was happening in the Medium Format section of the RG forums.
Real professionals that work on large, pressured projects were sharing.
Technique, style, wants, desires, headaches, humor, even fears were openly discussed.
In my career I have never seen anything like it and I can't begin to explain how rare that is.
To me the forums are a nice way to share, but with no disrespect, any forum is just an empty room until people come in and add value.
The true worth of a forum is the participants and opposite of some, I believe these forums really are a social club.
It fascinating to me that a photographer in Austin, Paris or Hong Kong goes through a day that almost exactly parallels mine and it was somewhat reassuring to know that my challenges were not unique.
Maybe a social club is not the right word. Maybe these forums are a 12 step program.
After all most of us work in a very solitary industry where few people go public about anything.
Concerns of clients, competitors, rumors, or even fear that some camera company will get angry and not give full support are on everyone's mind the moment they chose to hit the send, or delete button.
Once again, that level of honesty was rare and to some extent brave.
I and others can speculate on the reasons for the banned members, but without knowing what was in someone's mind and heart, any discussion of reason would be pure speculation and unfair.
Still, it was nice to start the morning around the water cooler, talk about something we have in common, have a laugh, maybe solve a problem and then get to work.
As far as that single thread that mentioned Jesus, I didn't originate that thought, but I am positive that no one involved ever meant any disrespect to anyone's spiritual beliefs.
Actually I am still at a loss as to what the issue was because I didn't know that mentioning Jesus in any part of the western world was forbidden, but then again that really isn't the point of me writing this.
The reason I am writing this is to thank all the people who I have met, shared with and learned from on the RG forums.
What is important is I made a lot of new friends, reacquainted myself with some old friends and enjoyed myself.
Still, the outcome of my leaving that forum really changes nothing.
Prior to the existence of any forum I freely shared in private and will continue to do what I have always done.
For the record I respect RG's right to run their business in any way they see fit.
Personally, I am uncomfortable with any form of censorship, especially partially edited censorship, but still respect the right of a private enterprise to go their own direction.
Just as I have the right not to participate and go my own way.
I only look at the RG forum with good thoughts. I made some lasting friends and in the last few days have received hundreds of e-mails from probably a dozen countries from people I previously shared with.
You can't look at that type of result with any negative thought.