Something Old, Something New, Something…; What’s New And Exciting Around The Web
“To the complaint, ‘there are no people in these photographs,’ I respond, ‘there are always two people: the photographer and the viewer.’”—Ansel Adams
It’s June, a month of brides and Shutterbug’s Digital Darkroom special issue. In this month’s edition of Web Profiles, I’ll introduce you to a website created by an amazing wedding photographer, some masters of the digital imaging process, and a new feature aimed at showcasing readers’ homepages. If you haven’t created your own site or are looking to upgrade your old one, I’d also like to introduce you to Showit Sites (www.showitfast.com), a website creation service that lets you publish a media-rich homepage without requiring experience or specialized software. It’s all done online and you can change your site anytime. The service has a monthly fee and offers unlimited galleries and custom pages. When my pal, Barry Staver, updated his wedding site (www.staverweddings.com) he used Showit Sites and I was impressed with what he produced. Check it out and I think you’ll agree.
The one word that best describes Mitchell Funk’s website is Wow! In the Bio section he talks about a conscious decision in 1969 “to shock people with color.” Take time to read his entire biography to get a sense of the person responsible for an avalanche of colorful images found on this sprawling site that’s organized along chronological lines with collections and folios from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s. All of these images have one thing in common: they hit you over the head with their strong composition and use of color.
His ’70s subject matter might be as banal as highway cones or a strip mall sign; it doesn’t matter. The results are as arresting as when Funk gets into full abstract mode working with found objects to create a sense of unreality. His work in the ’80s refines this style further with tightly controlled photographs but starts to evolve in the ’90s toward a creeping complexity that enters his oeuvre, producing images that look more outward than inward. Looking at his latest oft-cluttered work you’ll notice there are lots more people in his shots along with a sense of randomness, especially when compared to the ever-so-controlled images of the ’70s. Nevertheless, there seems to be an underlying theme of revealing the multifaceted texture of life in street photography and everyday objects such as freshly laundered shirts on hangers. Funk has not abandoned the carefully composed images of his youth though; he has reimagined them for a new millennium, reflecting a more mature sensibility and proving that the best artists can maintain a strong focus in their work and also change as they grow. Funk is not making the same photographs he did in the ’70s and is showing us the irony, excess, and richness of big city life in the 2000s. Here is a master at work whose site charts the evolution of an artist while displaying not just an extraordinary collection of photographs but providing an equally extraordinary photographic education as well. Thanks Mitchell Funk.
It was the photographs that first attracted me to Amelia Lyon’s tidy-looking site that serves as a perfect counterpoint to her fresh, contemporary look at love and marriage. The “Marry Me?” galleries feature engagement portraits of couples that defy easy description, but the first word that comes to mind is “real.” Here are real people in real-life situations captured by a photographer with real talent. You can’t pigeonhole the style except to say that each portrait—even of the same couple—is completely different than what you expect and redefines the engagement portrait genre. This is no accident; it takes talent, vision, and technical skill, things that Lyon possesses in abundant quantities.
She brings the same eclectic approach to the “Almost Ready!” shots of both bride and groom preparing for the wedding ceremony. I’ve never seen better preparatory shots in which she mixes magazine-style illustration with photojournalism, creating a realism that is Lyon’s alone. This style carries into the “I Do!” section with sensitive images made by an unabashed romantic combined with an awesome understanding of craft. The result produces a cinematic touch that breathes life in a type of photography that’s being swept away because of talented image-makers such as Lyon, proving that no type of photography survives unless it grows. “Best of Friends!” stands wedding group photography on its head with Lyon producing a clever spin on the “line ’em up and shoot ’em” approach that was formerly the norm. Not anymore. No bride, groom, or photographer who sees Lyon’s work will ever settle for the status quo. Lyon is leading the way for a new kind of wedding photographer who is placing the emphasis on the people and capturing them in stunning compositions that ensure these wedding albums won’t get stuck in a closet and forgotten. Lyon’s site is powered by liveBooks (www.livebooks.com).