Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog, Photoblog
How Photographers Are Making The Internet Work For Them
During the recent silly season of national electioneering, blogs and bloggers appeared on the radar screens of America's media in major newspapers and on TV. Unfortunately that awareness did not come with an explanation that a blog is short for weblog, or that a weblog is really an individual's daily journal or diary self-published on the World Wide Web. So then, what is a photoblog? The answer put simply is that it is a photoblog when a photograph is substituted for a text message or part of a text message, as most photoblogs have some verbal content as well as pictures. There is yet one more neologism that is pertinent to this phenomenon, and that is moblog, which is short for mobile blog, or one that is posted by means of a mobile, wireless device like a WiFi-equipped laptop, a PDA, or even a cell phone.
As far as the history of personal computing and the Internet is concerned,
blogs are not really new. A few bloggers, even photobloggers, have been doing
this for a decade or more. What brings blogs and photoblogs to our attention
is that the number of participants has grown exponentially and reached "critical
mass" due almost entirely to the popularity and growth of some new technologies.
As far as photoblogs are concerned, the limitation in the past had been the
slowness of dial-up Internet connections and, until recently, the cost of good
digital cameras. Recently, photoblog activity expanded like a field of mushrooms
with the proliferation of inexpensive compact digital cameras, widespread adoption
of broadband Internet connections, and the advent of cell phones with digital
Technology alone however, does not explain photoblogs. There has been an association of the Internet and photography for some time, if you take into account the many websites which cater to photographers, such as AOL's "You've Got Pictures," or independent commercial sites like Ofoto and Shutterfly. Professional, fine arts, and even many serious enthusiasts have set up their own individual websites with galleries of their own photographs.
So, what is it about a blog, an individual journal of daily submissions of photographs, that has attracted so much participation? Part of it, I think, is inherent to the nature of people who are attracted to making pictures with a camera. Photographic enthusiasts tend to be rather individualistic--it is just you and your camera and it's definitely not a team sport. However, once a photograph is made, what do you do with it? Rather than just filing pictures in shoe boxes once they are created, it is natural for most to want to share their view and perspective of the world, that dimension of reality and life they find interesting. A photoblog serves photo enthusiasts ideally to satisfy a need to "use" what they produce with a camera, in a free, individual, unstructured space that is open to all comers. Photoblogging is a low-cost, non-commercial, democratic "virtual gallery," and because it is a daily journal, it's ever changing with its attraction dynamic, always new and full of surprises for those who visit.
Exploring The World Of Photoblogs
Whether or not you have any interest in starting your own photoblog, exploring what is out there on the web can be entertaining, and more, as long as you realize there are just a few diamonds with a lot of rough surrounding them. In my own journey of discovery the first I came to that made me think I should take this photoblog phenomenon seriously was a site called A Walk Through Durham Township, Pennsylvania, at: www.durhamtownship.com/blog-archives/001412.html. Besides containing a collection of remarkably sensitive photographs that reflects a keen eye for light and atmosphere, the images, whether intended or not, promote the locale to other photographers who might just want to visit and photograph there themselves.
Today, finding interesting and rewarding photoblogs has been made easy by some dedicated people who have created websites that track individual photoblogs and provide links to many which the managers of the sites have found interesting or exceptional. From a photo enthusiast's perspective, the website that offers the richest harvest is www.photoblogs.org.