Apertures and shutter speeds are akin to the meat and potatoes of our photographic life, but where do you go to find out about aesthetics, variations, alternatives, adaptations, or new visual choices? These are the techniques, the sauces, spices and gravies bringing subtleties, flavors and fragrances to lift a meal from basic sustenance to haute cuisine.
There comes a point in your photographic life where you should need to move past the functional production of images to a more nuanced approach to visual recording and documentation. Whilst a more traditional way was, or still is, to have access to a vast library of books, monographs, texts and journals to peruse and study, this concept seems to have faded a little. In my case some limitations were brought on by a downsizing of habitat, but these were more than replaced by easy access to vast amounts of content a click or three away on the world wide web.
Allow me to share some of my preferred online delicacies…
Obviously, it goes without saying that this esteemed digital journal is my first source of information and creative encouragement! I personally reference my fellow correspondents for their alternative and occasionally confronting observations about this great industry. Amongst others, Tony Bridge, I am looking at you.
Now at a point in my career where words about photography tend to feature more prominently in my research than photographs per se, the top of my go-to list is a former photographic magazine editor, teacher and now blogger – The Online Photographer.
Mike Johnston writes his blog with the dedication that only a seasoned journalist can bring to his craft. Careful analysis, strong personal opinion and meticulously researched facts. His appeal to me is that he drifts just as effortlessly across music, coffee, cars and billiards whilst allowing his biases to colour his opinion – all grist to the mill that is my wandering mind.
Stuck in Customs claims 8,401,440 followers and is listed as the #1 Travel Photography Blog on the Internet. With a close association to Google, the site’s owner Trey Ratcliffe relocated to Queenstown, New Zealand and operates his blog with a world wide vision specialising in the bold colours of High Dynamic Range (HDR) travel photographs.It fulfills the promise of a new shot each day.
I came across Thom Hogan and his byThom blogs, he has several, when I was seeking Nikon information. He is articulate and knowledgeable and puts forward a strong opinion not only about Nikon DSLR and film equipment, but now has good commentary about mirrorless equipment.
Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart’s Blog Wotwedid satisfies the inner academic in me, with references to photo books, aesthetic reviews of exhibitions and published articles, as well as carefully produced photographic research.
Petapixel is the first port of call for many photographers with articles, photographs, reviews and good worldwide gossip. And Strobist also provides some of the aforementioned photographic meat and potatoes, with a strong focus on the area of techniques using portable electronic flash equipment.
Ryan Muirhead provides stimulus for people wanting to re-invent photography by using film. He breaks my need to seek out photographic text by mostly providing photographs supported by captions or life’s observations. I also follow him via his Instagram account. In the same genre is Film is Not Dead written exuberantly by Jonathan Canlas. Canlas writes and lectures with a passion that has brought him a large and loyal following.
This tiny selection represents a small set of websites and blogs that get me thinking, all celebrating, arguing and debating photography and whilst in no way a definitive list, they are a choice as personal as some of the opinions expressed by the various authors.
You’ll have your own list, feel free to share these with me.
Seeking the spice and flavors of life
This essay first appeared in f11 Magazine :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS and AFICIONADOS, p144, issue 45, July 2015.