Take Your Camera To Work Day; And Get Your 15 Minutes Of Fame

There are no accidents in Mark Baylin's work. Everything is where it should be and although there are no people in any of his images, their footprints and handiwork are much in evidence. As is his.
© 2004, Mark Baylin, All Rights Reserved

"Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?"--Edgar Bergen

Last year, Take Your Camera To Work Day was celebrated with a website (www.takeyourcameratoworkday.com) where amateur and professional photographers around the world, from the Ukraine to New Zealand to Canada and the U.S.A., could post images made during their workday beginning at midnight on May 21st. This unique website provided a snapshot of the world and, unlike other Day in the Life style projects, anyone with a camera could participate in this non-profit venture whose only goal is to demonstrate that photography is the universal language.

Take Your Camera To Work Day was originally my idea and AllSolutions.NET's Dave Hall helped me implement the concept of having a single day when photographers could celebrate the world around them. My goal for this annual project is to use photography to change the world for the better--one person at a time. Although last year was the first time, I was gratified that so many people participated with workplace images and even photos made on the way to work.

Pardon My URL
At this particular time in America there's no excuse for not having an easy to remember (and type) URL. Even if you're in Canada. It can be a pain in the butt to set up a website but domain registration is inexpensive; check out www.dotster.com and find out how cheap it can be. I typed Mark Baylin's (www.cyberus.ca/~mbphoto/ssg) address wrong twice before giving up and entering his name in a Google (www.google.com) search to find it. When you finally get there, you'll find a cleverly designed site that has images for "the enthusiast and collector alike." Baylin's meticulously constructed work can be found in six monochrome and color galleries. There are no accidents in his work, although "Menagerie" may look like one. Everything is where it should be and although there are no people in any of his images, their footprints and handiwork are much in evidence. As is his.

His black and white collection contains three galleries with each image mounted on a digital mount board for a striking gallery effect. And while there is certainly evidence of Richard Kirstel's work in "Derelict Doll," the Relics gallery is ultimately less bleak in its outlook and more a reflection of a disposable culture that affects much of the industrialized world. Interestingly, his Rural Scenes show the same kind of viewpoint.

This outlook is strikingly contrasted with color work that, while containing a similar theme of color-as-design, seems more hopeful, as if waiting for something that will change things for the better. Nothing says this more than "Flower" in the Urban Scenes color gallery. Ask yourself this question: Would you have thought to crop that image they way he did? Baylin's subtly effective site was designed by Bats in the Belfry Creative Inc. (www.batsinthebelfry.com) and was recommended to me by Roberta Douglas.

Eric Gray's wedding photographs range from the competent to the creative to the terminally cute as in an image of a flower girl surrounded by the female members of the wedding party. I'll bet his clients love it; I sure did.
© 2004, Eric Gray, All Rights Reserved

Down The Road
Although he's located just a half-hour away as the crow flies, I don't know Eric Gray, but if his website (www.grayscale studios.com) is any indication, he's a heckuva photographer. This cleanly designed, fashionable website is everything a working photographer needs. The About section introduces you to Gray, while the rest of the site shows what he does in the Weddings, People, Places, and Things galleries. His wedding photographs range from the competent to the creative to the terminally cute, as in an image of a flower girl surrounded by the female members of the wedding party. I'll bet his clients loved it; I sure did.

All of the galleries use a similar format with tiny thumbnails that click open to larger (could be bigger) images. In People, the photographs include everything from what is by now the traditional outdoor family group portrait to a stunning image of a woman alone in the mountains; she's so small she becomes part of the landscape. Speaking of landscapes, you'll find some knock-me-down gorgeous images of skylines and sailboats in British Columbia whose quiet beauty contrasts with some of the grittier (no titles, but a shot of rusty nails in a board comes to mind) photographs in this collection.

The Things collection could be called Still Life because that is what it really is and includes some nice photographs of flowers, but Gray is clearly in his element when working with dramatic subject matter and people.

If there is any fault with Ron Beller's website, other than the smallish sizes of the images, it's that there aren't enough of them!
© 2004, Ron Beller, All Rights Reserved.

Quiet Grandeur
Tucked behind a quiet interface, Ron Beller has hidden landscape images of power and majesty that do in fact "capture the beauty and grandeur" of the American West as his homepage (www.ronbellerimages.com) proclaims. Photographed in lush color, his images invoke serenity as well as awe, and the small thumbnails and not-so-big "larger" images hint only, I think, at the what his images must look like as wall prints. This is a genre that many people practice, but few manage to pull off by showing what the place would be like if you were really there. Beller manages that oh-so-difficult feat with consummate skill and creativity.

If there is any fault with the site, other than the small image size, it's that there aren't enough of them! I want to see more photographs such as "Missouri Lakes" with pink columbine blooming in the foreground. Yes, Beller, defying recent trends in site design, has included captions that feature geographic descriptions, just in case you want to visit that place yourself. Before you leave, check out the Featured Work section. The last time I visited it contained an image of Maroon Bells, near Aspen, Colorado, one of the most photographed places in my state, yet Beller has managed to make it fresh. The image helps us appreciate what he saw and felt the day he was there.

This year's Take Your Camera To Work Day website will have an all-new look with image-hosting services being provided by Smugmug.com.
© 2004, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

Time For Your 15 Minutes
Friday, May 21st is Take Your Camera To Work Day 2004 and an all-new website is made possible by sponsorship from Smugmug.com with design by Michael John Parker Design (www.michaeljohnparker.com). Hosting is provided by AllSolutions.NET with support from FutureWorks (www.future-works.com). "Powered by Smugmug," means that photographers can share images on the website with friends through e-mail, forum postings, and even tweak them using the site's built-in editing tools before they appear as a Take Your Camera To Work Day photo.

Photographers from all over the world are invited to post pictures on the site (www.takeyourcameratoworkday.com) that were made between midnight May 21, 2004, and 11:59pm that day. The images don't have to be posted that specific day, just created on Take Your Camera To Work Day and can be posted at any time after that. The site will be up all year so people can visit, share, and add new photographs, widening their circle of images and friends.

Don't forget: If you want to recommend your own or a friend's website for an appearance in this department, e-mail me at editorial@shutterbug.com.