fstop is a playground to a small group of authors indulging in the works of contemporary photography. No categorization of genres is practiced, and so the signature bond of the community can perhaps only be described inaccurately as the pursuit of capturing such views, feelings or thoughts that are unconventional and distinctive. However, there has also been one characteristic the omnipresence of which cannot go unnoticed: the love of film emulsions and the belief in their irreplaceability.
Also indicative of fstop is a strong emphasis towards commenting, with critics enjoying complete freedom in expressing their opinions directly and without having to struggle with elaborate diplomacy. What constitutes the key to a meaningful fstop membership is the good understanding of the fact that the number of differing opinions on a work of art is scarcely lower than the audience count. Every opinion is considered valid regardless of its negativity or form, and instances of the notion called "comments on comments," which are so common in large communities, come out as blatant faux pas in the face of the intimacy of the local setting.
In steps, fstop has been slowly reshaping from its original form of an invite-only club of just about three dozen members into a more open platform. Upload space designated as "workshop" is now provided for the free expression of all admitted photographers where admission is subject only to the condition that in voting of the current members the applicant's submitted work receives feedback that is at least 60 % positive.
To members who financially help compensate the costs of its nonprofit operation, fstop gives the option to manage their own works/series/portfolios independently of public spaces in a convenient, fast, well designed and highly accessible environment. By rule we have never annoyed anyone with advertising, animations, sounds or popup windows.
fstop has no ambition to compete with other projects for popularity, attendance or the number of users. Our goal is merely to refresh and develop a place that has [through upkeeping of only a couple simple principles] brought together a whimsical group of individualities who share, often among other things, the fondness of photography. We will keep on trying to accomplish that:
- we host authors among us who have attained or are striving to attain a characteristic style and possess a clear idea of what it is that they are trying to achieve,
- collective upload spaces are valued and a look at them tends to be inspiring,
- feedback on exhibited works is sensitive, rampant, and correct, all at the same time,
- the identity and credibility of all members is taken for granted.
-- Tomáš Szépe, June 2009, 3rd revision of the original text; Tomáš Řihošek & Tomáš Szépe, November 2007, 2nd revision of the original text; Tomáš Szépe, January 2006, 1st revision of the original text; Jan Winkler & Tomáš Szépe, May 2005, original text; for further info see http://www.fstop.cz/fs3man.html
(cz only at this time).