I was incredibly flattered when Laurel picked my work up and posted some of machines shortly after I launched my blog and site. I was aware of her blog when I started, I had read about her gallery show in the NY times. There are a few of the early photo bloggers, pioneers, who have really not only invented the the photo blog, but continue to be influence far outside of cyberspace. While some of the early voices,Alec Soth and Christian Patterson have moved on, the remaining few dominate the world of fine-art photo blogging. Conscientious and I Heart Photograph being the most creative and well known. (of course there are many others launched right after with lots to offer) What both of these blogs offer is a chance to discover the work of an artist you may not know. They are doing all the leg work for you. While as a photographer this is useful and interesting, as a photo professional is is life changing!
When Laurel posted my images, I almost immediately received an email from a photo editor asking if I was the same Cara Phillips that used to work at Redux Pictures. Turns out we had worked there together over 4 years earlier and she was now working at a magazine. So because of Laurel we re-connected and I showed her my work. And in a stranger twist of fate, I am freelancing for her at that magazine this month doing photo research, which by the way is a lot of fun. What I have discovered on the other end side of the photo divide is just how much I Heart Photograph has to offer. It’s easy to navigate, well archived and all the images are linked to source sites. But most importantly it is a veritable treasure trove of undiscovered pictures of every possible kind. And each image leads you on to something, perhaps not what you are looking for but often worthwhile. Then you go to the stock sites where you seem to get 67 pages of the most banal, mediocre photography imaginable. (the exception being news imagery, which is often really good) I mean, really I can’t believe anyone ever uses stock! My guess is the sheer quantity of imagery is the problem.
Buried in there somewhere is probably a lot of good pictures, if you know how to find them, but there are so many dreadful things, you just want to give up. And truthfully, I am sure many corporations cannot always use the kind of innovative and exciting, and let’s face it sometimes weird work showcased on the site. But in a world so full of imagery, we are increasingly dependent on the curator. Those who are willing to shift through the metaphoric garbage to pick out gems are more important then ever. I am much more interested in seeing a site that has one person’s very specific taste I may or may not always agree with, then a generic hodge podge of junk. So hopefully as the blog scene grows, there will start to be more options for buyers, that will actually also give individual photographers a chance to sell some of their images. And for magazines to have an easier and better way to find imagery for their publications.
A random sampling of IHP artists