atn 34: photography and online publishing

It’s recognized that for every action there‘s an equal and opposite reaction. As the world of online publishing expands, the traditional world of print publishing (newspaper and magazine) appears to be contracting. While I enjoy the new technologies, it’s sometimes been hard for this traditionalist to watch as newspapers and magazines struggle. Until recently it’s seemed like the passing of print publications would cause a terrible void…but I’m beginning to accept that we’ll all make it through, regardless.

I think we’re just starting to scratch the surface of the many ways photography may be presented online. Following are a set of links to personal web favorites, a diverse collection that assures me that the best is yet to come for photography and online publishing.

Dave Beckerman’s blog was mentioned many moons ago in around the net. He’s been publishing this blog online for years, an open chronicle of his life as a New York City street photographer. Dave, to me, is the pure essence of artist, photographer and blogger. Without the internet we wouldn’t know this man’s story and he possibly wouldn’t be making his living solely through photography.

We’ve watched photojournalism evolve online with the development of audio slideshows (as in this New York Times piece, Photographer’s Journal: Terror in Mumbai).  But we now also see the powerful, singular image coming back to life online in a big way with a trend toward big photographs. I remember first experiencing the impact of double-page spread images in LIFE magazine. Until recently, the tiny little images used by online publications has, in my mind, paled in comparison. Now there are presentations like The Wall Street Journal’s Photo Journal that put powerful photojournalism back in our face in the large, screen-filling sizes that such photographs deserve. I hope that more online publications give this kind of weight to the presentation of worthy images.

This next link is, in many ways, the opposite of the last mention. The Photo Stream uses a mass of tiny little images in a way that is far less contemplative. But it’s noteworthy, I think, because of the very distinctly “web” way the site utilizes photography. Each little photograph represents a link to a news item, a way for our very visual society to connect with the news that interests them. Whether The Photo Stream is the future or a novelty remains to be seen but, regardless, it’s innovative.

Maybe magazines will survive without being printed but, instead, distributed in an online pdf format. More and more print magazines are offering digital additions through online distributors like Zinio (Search all of Zinio’s 1000+ titles online). Yes, if printed publications continue to disappear there would be a loss. But I’m beginning to accept that it wouldn’t be in vain, that photography has more to gain than lose by an online migration.

It will be interesting to see what another year will bring for photography and online publishing. While some things seem predictable, there are always surprises, and some can be complete “game changers”.

Have a good weekend, all. By next week I’ll have some photos from the new studio to share…

- Jim T.