February 5, 2004

Is photo blogging good for photography?

Some interesting thoughts on photoblogs. I consider myself quite a hack. I take 1 good photo in 36. Most of the photos I post here are technically terrible (overexposed, under exposed, etc)- but I enjoy doing it. I'm more "home enthusiast" than "amateur photographer." Despite minoring in Photography at Syracuse I always seemed to have little patience in doing it right. One of the reasons that I migrated so fast to digital. In the back of my head I believed my lack of technical discipline could always be corrected in photoshop (ha!).

    "So is keeping a photo blog fun? Is it work? Why do we do it? To receive praise? Why do you visit? I know I visit other photo bloggers for inspiration and to see the world through their eyes. It's a way of traveling without ever leaving my computer. What would the photoblogging community be like with more professionals involved? Would it lose its edge, its "authenticity"?
    Is photo blogging good for photography?
In early 2000 my copywriter partner Tom Elia and I pitched a "Real World" marketing idea to Kodak. The concept was to follow a few peoples lives through photographs. The subjects would be located all over the world and would build a narrative of their lives through photos.

To prove the concept, Tom and I documented every aspect of our lives in photos for a month. Everything we did, everywhere we went, we photographed. I carried a lomo, and Tom had a loaner from Kodak. I did not leave my East village apartment without the camera and 2 rolls of film. Once a week we'd meet back in a conference room in the Worldwide Plaza and lay out the narrative that we had captured...

I was always amazed at how powerful the images could be. Authentic. Voyeuristic. They were not professional. They were real and raw. They were shot from the hip, and despite the obvious exposure and technical problems- they were dynamic. The photos were more than social currency. They documented someone's existence.

Kodak ended passing on the concept- due to an insane estimated budget ($1+ million) by the account folks. The whole concept was crying out for the photoblogging medium. The tech people were estimating zillions spent on a content managment system to mange the photos and craft the narrative. All that was actually needed back then was simple photoblog.

Since that pitch I have never left the house without a camera. I still shoot 10-20 photos a day. I now own a stable of cameras:

Owning all these cameras has only marginally helped me take better photos. I'm still too impatient to do it right. I enjoy capturing the moment- right or wrong exposure. I still enjoy telling a story with my photos. Whether they're shitty photos or not, I enjoy posting to my blog. (btw- the site that got me thinking about this...has some wonderful photos. All of the Kodak pitch photos are archived to CD somewhere. One day I'll put them all together and complete the original pitch: present a photo narrative exploring my life during one New York snowy month. The month that started me photographing everything I do.

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