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.
"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
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.
"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
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.
"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