History: Almost 16 years ago, a couple of photographer friends around the country were chatting on IRC (internet relay chat) which was popular back then. They would send each other photos via email or IRC file transfer and discuss them, offering each other critiques and giving each other projects to shoot etc... The group started to grow from just a few people to around 50 or more and it was becoming a bit unmanageable.
Al Shaikh, one of folks that started this group decided that a web site was needed so that it would be easier to share our images. Realize, that at that time, digital cameras were not all that great, were very expensive, and most of us were still shooting film. I even had a full commercial darkroom at my place. Ah those were the days! Anyway the domain UseFilm.com was purchased by Al as kind of a slap in the face to that "passing fad" of digital photography. A web site was built, although a bit crude, as Al was not a web developer, but it worked and started to grow.
By the end of the first year there were hundreds of users and it was growing every day. We would still chat on IRC while discussing the images on the web site. Soon the amount of users outgrew the capabilities of the web site and Al asked me if I would re-write it for him as it would crash on a nightly basis and was extremely slow. At that time there were many thousands of users and several hundred thousand images. The site was completely re-written from the ground up and was very reliable after that point and ready to grow.
The site then really started to grow and there was now well over 100,000 active members, and close to a half million images on-line. At one point Usefilm.com had an Alexa rating of around 22,000 which is pretty darn good for a bunch of amateurs! UseFilm.com had turned into an amazing community of photographers from around the world. One year we had a convention in Las Vegas and people flew in from all across the USA. We even had people fly in from as far away as Sweden! It was great fun and was nice to meet people face to face. After that, local "get togethers" were a common occurrence all around the world as UseFilm photographers gathered to meet each other. Usefilm continued to grow.
During that time the site was supported by ad clicks and donations. It did OK and was able to support itself however that would soon come to an end as the revenue from ad clicks dropped off and due to the economy and money being tight so did the donations. Other things like jobs and family took precedence and Usefilm kind of slowly faded until one day the servers had a meltdown and that was that. The servers were removed from the rack and sat under my desk for a year. I didn't have the heart to trash them.
Well one day, I got tired of banging my knees on the old Usefilm servers and decided to see if I could salvage the data from the failed disk drives. I was successful in recovering all of the data, I still had all of the UseFilm source code on my computer so I decided to see if I could resurrect the site. I gave Al a call and asked if he would mind if I took over the site, to which he said go for it. Since UseFilm was kind of moot name (can you even buy film any longer?) I decided to rename the site. Ten years ago I had purchased Imageopolis.com with the thought of building another photo site, but never got around to it. Now it looked like I finally had a use for it.
Imageopolis.com is now online with over 100,000 registered photographers and almost a million images on-line and more being added every day. We are adding to the site on a daily basis and will have all sorts of new features coming online throughout the year. Imageopolis.com like UseFilm is a true photographic community, not just a place to dump and store your photos. This is a place to learn, to share, to critique and to enjoy the art and hobby of photography. We have over 70 photo projects right now with more being added each month, for you to participate in, a real photo forum for you to carry on discussions about photography, everything from the technical to the philosophical with members around the world! We have over 190 countries represented, and we get along better than the U.N.!
So, to answer your question:
No the Internet doesn't need another photo site, but it does need Imageopolis.com! Sign up today, it is free and start posting your beautiful images. Critique others, or just ask questions, participate in the projects, enjoy the images and share yours! Make this place Your Photo Community!
Phil & Steve