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.

URL: www.jinkyart.com.au/. "We started blogging as a way to share our growing children with family and friends. It fast became more than that when we discovered a diverse community of photobloggers, clicking away from all corners of the globe. Our photoblog tracks our rather mundane day-to-day life, and we hope one day our children can look back and enjoy the memories. Not only do we enjoy taking photographs, but also love how others are sharing their lives with us in the same way. We have come to appreciate the community spirit among the photobloggers. Each and every photoblog gives us a glimpse of their life through the lens of their camera and it's almost like taking a trip round the world."--Jinky

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 cameras built-in.

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.

URL: www.catherinejamieson.com. "I've spent a lot of time considering why we do this. It's visual verbiage, in most cases, the sharing of personal information without the need to be a `writer.' I sometimes suspect I might even be the first amateur `photoblogger,' as my original site from the mid-1990s morphed from a written journal site to an illustrated journal, and then to a photographic journal when the first digital cameras (Kodak DC40) hit the market in '95/'96. I can't remember anyone else doing a photoblog then, but I could be wrong of course, and I would hardly say that in a crowded room."--Catherine Jamieson

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.

URL: www.alwayscurious.com. "Ever since I was kid, I've always been curious. I would get distracted and then I was off on my own, away from the group, staring at something that no one else found interesting. While the other kids chanted, `Why don't you take a picture, it'll last longer!' ... I just stood there and thought `good idea,' and so I did. Years later, I started a daily photo site to record these sightings in hopes of finding other curious people who might actually appreciate them. And, you know, the weird thing was, they were actually out there."--Charlie O'Shields

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