Browsers On Parade; Take A Test Drive
"The site is best viewed using Microsoft Internet Explorer at 1024x 768."--a.k.a. the writing on the wall
So began an e-mail from a photographer who wants his work featured in this
department. Guess what happens when you use another browser, such as Opera,
to look at his site? Nada, nothing, zilch, zero. You get a white screen. I don't
know about you, but I want as many people as possible to view my websites, not
just Internet Explorer users. Hey folks, we have choices: there's iCab,
Firefox, Netscape, Safari, and even ChiBrow for kids (see "There Is Life
After Internet Explorer" sidebar). Download one or all and give them a
test drive to find one you like. In the meantime, all you web designers out
there, take some time to smell the flowers. There are lots of other colors and
choices available besides Microsoft's.
There Is Life After Internet Explorer
Just because Microsoft's Internet Explorer comes pre-installed on your
computer doesn't mean you actually have to use it. My VW GTI 337 has a
cigarette lighter but I haven't lit up in 20 years. Internet Explorer's
slow speed and well-known security flaws should be enough to make you switch.
Why not discover the wide world of browsers and find something a bit different?
Here are a few places to start:
A Photographic Billy Pilgrim
Occasionally I come across such unbridled talent that I'm tempted to go back to Etch A Sketch. That's how I felt when viewing Wilson Hurst's website (www.wilsonhurst.com) the first time. Here you'll discover a brilliant vision and dazzling virtuosity wrapped in an Escher-like interface that TARDIS-like is "bigger on the inside than it is on the outside." Clicking on Images takes you into a "salon" with two galleries: Dynamic and Legacy. Oh, by the way, be sure to click the text at the top of the salon window. (I won't spoil it for you by saying what you'll find.) Once into Legacy, there are 15 collections, each containing a page of 25 tiny thumbnails. Placing your mouse over any one of them changes the larger picture in the center.
There is something familiar yet otherworldly in his depiction of everyday scenes. Even cliché-ridden subjects like flowers take wing going "where no plant has gone before." It would help if the images had titles, but they are numbered and the numbering system starts over for each new collection. The Dynamic gallery contains collections within collections and uses a different (you're surprised?) format. If you poke around you can find evocative titles such as "places.jpg," one of my favorites. Hurst's imagery defies easy description, but the words reality redefined come to mind.
Half a world away in County Wicklow, Ireland, Rod Tuach's website (www.photosspain.com) showcases photographs of Spain. Some of these images immediately call to mind the work W. Eugene Smith did in his classic Life magazine photo essay "A Spanish Village." My editor tells me not many people these days remember the golden age of photojournalism that redefined the way news photographs are made, as they are gradually being eroded by a happy face media. Even if Tuach is not channeling Smith, his images speak for themselves. The site's format couldn't be simpler and doesn't impose its own aesthetic. A list of file names and titles (anybody else listening?) runs up and down the left-hand edge of the screen. Clicking any of them displays the photograph with a simple copyright statement.
The villagers seem unaware of this invisible photographer and go about their
daily lives being captured in moods from studied ("At a village fair")
to effervescent ("Women laughing"). Yet there are Kafkaesque incidents,
such as "Man at gate" and "Kids in alleyway," that provide
unexpected moments that Tuach captures in luminous black and white images. Even
on broadband this site can be slow to load. Be patient, it's worth it.