I am a podcast junkie.
My iPhone exists almost solely as my podcast player. I log more time listening to podcasts than playing Angry Birds and Facebook combined. Whether I’m driving to and from the clinic, or doing dishes and folding laundry at home, I’m constantly plugged into audio programming that caters to my interests in music, games and comedy.
So last year, when I developed an interest in ophthalmology and photography, my first instinct sent me to the internet, thinking I could find at least a half-dozen podcasts about ophthalmic medicine, archives, lectures, or at least people in the industry sitting around and talking about their work.
What I found were three American Academy of Ophthalmologists panel discussions, each about twenty minutes long from 2008.
Pictured above: Dr. Alok Sahgal, UNC researcher, searching for podcasts about ophthalmology Photo credit: Rona Lyn Esquejo-Leon, CRA
I was disappointed to say the least. As a fledgling photographer, I craved interactions with my peers. I wanted to broaden my horizons, improve my technique, place my finger on the pulse of what was going on in the field outside my practice. To discover that I couldn’t use one of my favorite media outlets to do so was frustrating. I wondered what it would take to create a serial podcast about ophthalmic photography.
I attended the Ophthalmic Photographers’ Society educational program in Orlando this past October. It was my first convention and I was excited to spend four days surrounded by my peers, learning more about my craft. Unfortunately, other than the handful of people from my clinic, I didn’t know anyone there. I was surrounded by long-time OPS members that had known each other for years, and it was intimidating to meet new people. During my full schedule of lectures and classes I kept seeing familiar faces and hearing familiar names. Not wanting to remain a fly on the wall, I took my idea to some of them.
Enthusiasm came rushing forward. It was followed immediately by more ideas about expanding the online reach of the OPS. Before long, I realized that a podcast would just be the tip of the iceberg. Internet forums where photographers can discuss techniques; a Facebook presence for uniting the OPS in the world’s most popular social network; a Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute communication; photos and portfolios available to see on Flickr; all of these were bandied about with the goal to make it easier for photographers to interact and communicate with each other. We could become an organization united under one large umbrella, tied together by the bonds of social media. If members of the OPS were able to interact regularly via the channels mentioned above, the days of showing up to the annual OPS convention not knowing anyone would essentially be over, and the fly-on-the-wall syndrome I experienced would be averted for any OPS newbies.
The Ophthalmic Photographers’ Society is a group of people who are passionate about what they do, and like any group of like-minded people, we want to share our passion with our peers. With the internet, it is easier than ever before. During the few weeks it took me to write this, the OPS has started a Facebook page, forums and launched a blog. All of these new social media features can be accessed from the left menu bar. The OPS’ foray into social media is the start of something big. As for an official OPS podcast, click the "Comment on this Post” at the bottom to let me know if you think it’s a good idea.
About the Author: Matt Price is a retinal angiographer at Mid Florida Eye Center in Mt. Dora, Florida. He has been taking ophthalmic photos since 2010.
Pictured to the left is author, Matt Price, with his iPod.