public gathering

Mike Sinclair

Mike Sinclair has been posting new photos from the Missouri State Fair on his blog.

Last Thursday Andrew Hetherington of What’s the Jackonary spoke at the Apple Store in SF. He showed a slideshow of his work – from his early fashion and ad photos to the personal projects (A Room With a View). He also showed a bit of the latest episode of Inside the Photographer’s Studio, featuring Philip Toledano, who is most entertaining. It was nice to see a blogger in person. The setting of the Apple store wasn’t too bad either. There was a small bank of iMacs where little kids were going full stream at RPGs, and the stairs looked like some sort of new age stairway to heaven. Geez, Apple, you’re making everyone else look bad!

An interesting thread in the talk was how the web has changed interaction and community. He mentioned the days when he had a roll of quarters, pager and a phone book instead of a website or blog, and meeting other photographers in the Print Space darkrooms, which were fully booked until the web came along and emptied them. (I wonder if Rayko saw the same drop off). The barrier to entry is lower, so that anyone can publish or show a portfolio, but you have to make a lot more of an effort to interact with others. There is something slightly intimidating about even a blog with a warm personal tone. Where all you had to do really was show up with your warm body and say hi, now you have to email or comment, which feels appropriate only if you have something to say unless you want to annoy. But in the end, maybe it’s not so different, and I’m just finding excuses for my introversion. I suppose it’s the trade-off for the low barrier to entry and the larger network.

Hetherington mentioned that he found in the blogosphere what had ceased to exist at Print Space, but I’m not sure that they are equivalents. If I want to meet working ’emerging’ photographers online, the content I put online will be seen by them as well as everyone else. In addition to sharing finished work, I’d personally hope to share things that I may in the end decide are not usable, to be a little more open with the process of editing. That of course, is not necessarily what you’d want editors or curators to see. Does this mean you put up a portfolio site geared purely toward career-opportunities and a blog for personal stuff? But of course, editors and curators and whonot also read blogs (a photo editor warns against posting “things that will get you un-hired”). So do photographers who are still learning go to a place like Too Much Chocolate to show unfinished work in “safety?” Everyone knows that there’s much left on the editing room floor, to borrow a phrase from film and sound. Why should it be held against anyone that they are just open about the existence of these items, which can sometimes be illuminating about the work that is shown ‘officially’, about the decisions an artist has made?

I’m coming from a practioner perspective for sure. I can see why it might be too much work for curators and editors to weed out the chaff. Maybe the solution is more ability to filter blogs or streamlike media so that you only see what you’re interested in. I do wish blogs could be more like Facebook, where you can control what types of posts you see, with built in interactivity that news readers don’t have and one main page you can go to to see all sorts of activity. Tumblr comes the closest, but sometimes it’s nice to have the backend power of WordPress. It’s things like this that convince me we are only seeing the tip of the internet iceberg. In 10 years the web will be too so good our little brains can’t even comprehend it now.


~ by Jin on August 18, 2009.

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