The Amateur Photographer: Best In Show


Rivers Cuomo, frontman for the band Weezer, was flipping through the August 2009 issue of National Geographic, when one photo jumped out at him. It was a picture of a dog flying through the air in someone’s living room. Cuomo liked the image so much that he put it on the cover of Weezer’s new album (above).

Now here’s the cool part: The picture was taken not by a professional photographer, but by an amateur—Jason Neely, of Middletown, Connecticut. (Spinner has more about Rivers, Jason, and Sidney the Dog here.)

More than 100 images in each issue of National Geographic are shot and edited by well-paid professionals. Whereas only two or three amateur photos are published each month in Your Shot, a Magazine department that’s incredibly popular with readers—and that featured Soaring Sidney. In other words: The odds were stacked against Rivers Cuomo ever spotting Jason Neely’s picture. But forget statistics. The amateur’s shot still stood out as Best In Show.

What does the rise of the amateur say about the future of publishing houses that cling to old business models that are imploding? Hmmm… I’m trying to come up with an appropriate image….


(It doesn’t have to end ugly, of course. National Geographic could become a fully networked Society, with millions of members who might be empowered and encouraged to accomplish great things together.)


≡   Album cover via
≡   And a hat tip to Brian for the link to the post @ Spinner

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