© Taisuke Sato

Join an Intimate, Inspirational Photo Community

One that’s right out your front door

Now that it’s tougher to go seeking places to make extraordinary photography, we have an invitation to pay attention to what’s close to home.

As well as to connect and grow with other photographers, share work, and get inspired.

Close to Home is an online community for photography enthusiasts to share their photos, improve their skills, and look at their surroundings in a new light.

You don’t have to be a professional photographer or have fancy equipment to comment on the world around you with your camera. This community is for everyone who wants to connect with others through photography.  

Get ready to start to understand who you are as a photographer, where you live, and how that influences your work. Because that’s how we can become more intentional about what we say with our photography.

Some of the most moving photos come from the places that are most familiar to you.

Over time, you’ll understand how a place changes with the people, the light, and the events that take place. You’ll get a rare glimpse into the fascinating moments right outside your door, whether you live in a city, suburb, or rural area.

And you will come back with intimate portraits of life around you, to share them with other people who just get it.

"This site feels like a treasure chest with riches and surprises of all kinds. James, I appreciate how you continually fuel us, expand our thinking, and propel our craft forward. "

Lisa Levine
Manhattan, NY

Here's How It Works

Small groups are the key

  • Register on the form above
  • You’ll be added to a 25-person peer group made up of photographers from all different backgrounds and locations. 
  • Fill out your profile, create an album inside your group to share your work, and step into a new environment where people comment on your work, collaborate, give thoughtful feedback, and share their unique perspectives.
  • Stimulate your creativity and focus your vision with the help of a mix of photographers as they inspire you to look at your surroundings with fresh eyes.

"I must repeat: This Salon has meant more to my photography in this short time than all the pages and books and 'self teaching sessions' I have ever gone through. I am not exaggerating!"

Niels Krarup Jessen
Helsingør, Denmark

Bonus Materials

In addition to being part of the community, to help you get started and give some inspiration to create, share, and grow –  I’m adding these bonus materials with your membership.

  • 4-hour editing program titled, Editing and Putting Together a Portfolio in Street Photography.
  • 75-minute class titled, An Introduction to Street Photography: From Beginner to Advanced Topics
  • The Essentials of Street Photography and Street Photography Conversations ebooks.
  • A master list titled, The Best Street Photography Books to Start Your Collection

It’s a Process of Self-Discovery

Challenges and Ways to Connect with Your Photography and the Community

Included with the Salon:

  • Weekly photography articles, links, and projects
  • Study the work of famous and up-and-coming photographers to broaden your knowledge of people like Alec Soth, Jason Eskenazi, Graciela Iturbide, and Joel Sternfeld
  • Events and talks with working professional photographers
  • Small online critique groups to get and give feedback live
  • Salon Member Map – a way to check out if you have photography friends in your area to connect with
  • Q&A Forum for all your questions

The Story Behind Close To Home

The idea for Close to Home came during the beginning of the pandemic. Normally not one to lack inspiration, I was chasing a toddler around all day, feeling like I had lost the zip in my photography, and looking for something stimulating.

So I looked to the photographers on my photo newsletter list for inspiration.

I created a contest called Close to Home, where everyone had to send 5 photographs taken within 5 blocks of their home, or within their home. The results were astounding.

Hundreds of photographers sent in such a fascinating variety of work from all over the world. The winner’s work was taken entirely within his home.

I received so many emails from people about how the contest opened their eyes to what existed right outside their front door – it brought excitement and possibility back into their photography. I was blown away that so many people were feeling the same way I was.

So I thought, let’s keep this going. And I’ve been excited to walk out the door ever since.


"The Close to Home Photo Salon has become a daily source of joy for me - a place where creative expression is celebrated! James has designed a thoughtful, well-organized forum, which provides resources and photo challenges that I wouldn't have found elsewhere. It is a pleasure looking through and offering feedback about others’ images.

The process sharpens my eyes, deepens my understanding of this visually and emotionally satisfying art form, and inspires me to take risks in my own work. Members of this forum are talented and generous with their time, as is James, who sets an example with his warm, enthusiastic energy."

Lisa Levine
Manhattan, NY

"The Salon is a community of enthusiastic, creative, and talented photographers. James’ concept for this on-line forum is engaging, inspiring and challenging in the most positive way. Over a very short time, I’ve begun to explore the world through my camera lenses in many different and exciting ways.

The opportunities to learn and grow through this forum are endless. If you are interested in meeting amazing photographers from all over the world and expanding your horizons, the Home Photo Salon is for you."

Nancy Auestad
St. George, UT

"I’ve found the Salon to be a unique place to connect with other photographers and talk about pictures in depth - theirs and mine. It’s a place where feedback is more than a like. It’s a real community of photographers of all levels working together to make better pictures. It’s exactly what I was hoping for."

Larry Felton
Albany, NY

"When it comes to bringing people together and sharing inspiration, James is making this happen with his Close to Home Photo Salon. I've met photographers from all backgrounds and levels - personally I have been very inspired by the diverse viewpoints and resources that James offers on a regular basis."

Vin Sharma
Brooklyn, NY

"Imagine the best of connecting with other photographers without the annoyances of social media - James has created a magic platform where we photographers can be inspired, genuinely connect with people from all parts of the world, and get support in our journey. I can't wait to see where this all leads."

Emily Passino
Nashville, TN

About James Maher

I have been a street, social, and documentary photographer in New York for the past 20 years, photographing extensively in both the busiest areas of Manhattan and the quietest areas of Brooklyn.

As a workshop guide and certified history and tour guide for the last 10 years, I’ve given thousands of private photography workshops and countless intensive group workshops to photographers from all over the world with a variety of skill levels and interests.

These incredible experiences have allowed me to not only connect with all types of photographers, but to learn to understand what motivates them and how to tap into this and focus them.

In addition, I write extensively about photography and the city, and my work has been featured around the web and in print. I have worked frequently with The New York Daily News, Digital Camera Magazine, Fstoppers, Digital Photography School, Photo Focus, Digital Photography Review, and Petapixel.

I have written three photography books, The Essentials of Street Photography, Street Photography Conversations, and The New York Photographer’s Travel Guide.

Where We're From!

Take the Tour!

"Inspiration is the goal here - to build a tight-knit group of photographers who will grow together and motivate each other.

The community in 'Close to Home' is built upon a backbone of unique street and social photographers from a variety of backgrounds and all types of locations.

It's time to bring photographers together to see what everyone can do."
James Maher
Photographer / Writer / Creator of 'Close to Home'