A Thank You Note, and Happy Holidays

A Thank You Note, and Happy Holidays

1386 780 James Tocchio

Ray Bradbury, my literary hero, famously posted a sign above his typewriter that read “Don’t Think.” The idea, as he related it, is that a writer should write not with his or her head, but with his or her heart. So, instead of a camera review, or a lens review, or a Holiday Buyer’s Guide, which would be excellent for Search Engine Optimization and bring in some revenue, I’m going to end the year with a note to my readers.

I started this website in 2014 because I bought a Minolta and liked it so much that I wanted to tell people about it. In its first month of existence, 38 people visited the site. For some reason, I kept going. Eventually, more and more people began visiting. People started commenting and telling their own stories. I made some friends, and hopefully many of the people reading my site felt that they’d made friends too. With me, with my writers, with other readers.

Last year the site welcomed 3,000,000 visitors, and this year we’re hitting the same number. Even if only by accident, it stands to reason that at least some tiny fraction of that number of people enjoyed being here. If just a single per cent of visitors closed their browser with a smile, or an interesting thought, or some new motivation, or a feeling of happiness, hey, that’s 30,000 people. That’s like two entire stadiums in the National Hockey League worth of people who thought, “I’m glad I read that on Casual Photophile.”

Some of you have even subscribed, just to help me keep doing what I’m doing. Incredible.

We’ve arrived at the end of the year, I wanted to write a quick note to thank you all for visiting, for your kindness and support, and for allowing me and the people who write for this website to share in your very special hobby.

You may have noticed that I’ve slowed down a bit. 2022 was a tough year, so I’m taking it easy in December.

In the upcoming year, 2023, there are going to be some good changes to this website. Posts will be consistently back to the Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule, and I have two big initiatives which will bring in additional revenue so that we can hire more writers (since I pay everyone who writes for me). I’m very excited about the new year, and I hope that you’ll all continue to enjoy the articles here, as well as the new things that are coming.

Personal Thanks

When I wrote this site’s first article, my intention in life was (and still remains) to be a writer. Like, a real life writer, writing short stories and novels and essays that are published in magazines and books. Essentially self publishing here on Casual Photophile, I’ve been able to reach an audience that I likely would never have reached if I’d simply tried to get a job in Pop Photography, or another magazine, or if I’d queried agents or submitted stories or novels to a publishing house. This site, then, became a place to share my mind and to practice.

I can’t give any real details at the moment, but I was just told that an article I’ve written will be published in one of the most widely circulated magazines in the country in early 2023. I can’t express how happy this has made me (which is not a good thing for a writer to admit).

I mention this not in an effort to be self-congratulatory, I promise. I’m mentioning it here because I don’t think that I would have been published if I’d not practiced daily writing for the past eight years. And I don’t think I’d have had the motivation, optimism, or energy to continue practicing daily writing for eight years if not for this website. And what that really means, is that I couldn’t have done it without you. Without the people who have visited this site and left comments and been, generally, lovely people, I don’t know what my life would look like right now. But it certainly wouldn’t be as nice.

Many thanks. Infinite thanks.

I hope that you enjoy the last few weeks of the year, and that 2023 is your best year yet. I hope that the people you love are with you, happy and healthy. I hope that you’re happy and healthy, or working toward it. If you’re struggling, I hope that you know you’re not alone, that people love you, and that you can get through it. I hope, to paraphrase my hero, that 2023 gives us all the opportunity to live less with our heads, and more with our hearts.


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James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop Fstopcameras.com.

All stories by:James Tocchio
  • I am one of the 3,000,000… and I enjoy the site. I even come back frequently to explore the archives. Because the style of writing is different from other photographic sites: it incorporates not only details about gear or film or technology… but also a good part of personality. Opinions, points of view, thoughts, even doubts… and this makes it special. At least for me. Reading your note touches me. And so I’d like to return my thanks to you, for the efforts you take to run the site, for the energy you dedicate to photography and for your excellent writing. Congratulations for the coming publication you mentioned! All my best wishes


  • and thank you, James – for pulling this together and sharing it as often as you have this year….

    • James, congratulations on your upcoming article! As a fellow writer (trying to find my novel a home), I know there’s no joy quite like seeing your work in print. You are a wonderful writer, and my fervent hope is that the new year brings us both what we want.
      This site was the very first place I visited as I got back into film photography, and I thank you for your passion, talent, and insight. I’m a Minolta man because of you; I’m almost embarrassed (almost!) at how huge my film camera collection has become, led by my XE-5. I tell my wife it’s your fault.

      • Thanks again, Christopher! Wishing you the best of luck with your novel. It can be so overwhelming to query agents and submit pitches, etc., but it has to be worth it. When it finds a home with an agent or publisher, let me know. I’d love to buy a copy.

    • My pleasure. Thank you for reading!

  • Peter Bidel Schwambach December 19, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    You’re welcome 🙂

    Seriously though, I’m glad to hear things are looking after what’ve been a hard couple of years for I guess all of us. I found out about CP late 2019/early 2020 as I was getting my dad’s old FM2 going again and didn’t know much about it or photography at all, and it was precisely the writing that kept me coming back time and again. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, the writing on things like cameras, cars and even music can get a bit sterile, a bit clinical, and of the few pages where that doesn’t happen, CP is easily the best.

    • Thank you so much Peter. This was my original goal with the site, and I’m glad that we’ve been able to make it work! Cameras are emotion, not specs.

  • What a lovely send-off, James! Happy holidays, looking forward to reading more of your work in 2023.

  • Thank you James. This is the best camera site on the web, bar none. Your writing is always engaging and a joy to read. I love this place! It’s probably caused me more issues with GAS over the years than are healthy, but I’ve certainly been well-informed during each attack 👍

  • I’m a silent lurker, but I check here everyday to see if there’s a new article, and I read every one of them. Often, if there isn’t a new article, I’ll go find an old one. I love what you do and being on this website feels like a cozy blanket. Thank you so much.

    • Truly appreciated Aaron. I’ve been thinking of ways to help older articles find new readers, since we’ve got so many years’ worth just sitting around in the background. I’ll take a look!

  • You have a terrific site! I look forward to what is to come.

  • What a lovely end of year note… Thanks, James.

  • James,
    Thanks for all your work. I enjoy this site, and being a Minolta guy, especially the Minolta content. Congrats on the magazine article, and I hope 2023 is better and brighter.

  • I love this website, this is the only one I check every day, and the only one I follow with Ken Rockwell.
    I thank You so much. Gratitude.
    I have left other websites, also some I followed since more than 10 years.
    Casualphotophile is great for the content. This is certainly the top one on this field of photography to respect ideas, opinions, comments. This epoch is more the epoch : freedom is more and more in danger.
    I have to thank all the writers here, and all the people who comment, I read all, and learn a lot.

  • Gracias por tu pasión plasmada en el contenido del sitio.

  • massartarchitecture December 23, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    James—thanks for hanging in there and for producing such a wonderful site. I’ve been following you since the beginning and I’m very happy that you plan to continue the good work into the new year (and beyond). Happy holidays!

  • James, thanks for continuing to do a stellar job with interesting and motivational content. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Louis.

  • Dear James,

    Congrats, because this is the best film photography site on the internet. Yes, there may be better ones out there when it comes to certain niche subjects, plus some really good Youtube channels (no, not the ones with the hipsters talking nonsense for 30 minutes using a Leica or a PanX), but overall, CP takes the cake, and I’m always happy to land back here. It’s rare that a writer creates a whole website instead of just a blog, and to start and continue at such a high level in the professional sense is even rarer. Most other film photo sites are user submission based, 5 frames this, random review of that, and not much else. CP is original content, done to high editorial standards. I’m a writer, a journalist, and I have certain film photo ideas that if I ever get to turn into something, you’ll be the first to know, because the way you run this place reminds me of how Road&Track is being run. Previously by Travis and Bob, now by Raph and Aaron. Good editors are everything.

  • I’ve subscribed to a few websites and after an initial flurry they stop being updated. I enjoy coming back here to read the latest articles and dipping into the archive. Keep it up!

  • Nothing like a good cup of coffee (in the morning) or a nice glass of wine (in the evening) and this website. Keep up the good work! I’m a fan!

  • Thanks for a great website. I’m too young to have been shooting film, but after I accidentally stumbled upon your article on the Nikon FM a few months ago, I decided to take a look at eBay and jump into the world of analog photography. So far, I’ve shot three rolls of film (of which only the first have been developed yet). It’s super exciting and different from what I’m used to.

    I continue reading this site and learning about a world that I never even heard about. Shooting with vintage gear has been an eye-opening experience. It’s also a lot of fun.

    Question: Have you considered joining Patreon? I know it’s possible to support the site via your subscription, but personally I’d rather do it via Patreon, since I’m already supporting other sites through it (and it’s quite convenient). I could imagine that there might be other people in your audience that feel the same way, so maybe it’s worth looking into?

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James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop Fstopcameras.com.

All stories by:James Tocchio