On this blog, a democracy of images is important for me. I don’t see anyone’s work as being older just because it was posted earlier. And I also don’t view the work of somebody who has never shown in a gallery as less (or more) important than the work of someone who sells her or his photos for a million bucks.
Unless you’re reading this blog through its RSS feed, you probably noticed that the website looks very different now. I want to talk about what is different and why, so that you can get the most out of this blog. The first thing to note is that while shorter posts are displayed in their entirety on the main page, longer posts aren’t. You access longer posts by clicking on their titles. From now on, I’ll indicate that there is more to read by using (more)
The redesign (and rewiring) of the blog would not have possible without designer/developer/mastermind Tim Gasperak. I’ll introduce Tim and talk more about his work in a separate post.
There were a bunch of reasons why I wanted a redesign of the blog. The old version used one of the Movable Type templates, and given I have been so busy producing contents, I never took the time to make things look nicer. Getting something that is also visually attractive had long been on my list of things that I wanted to see.
But there were also a series of conceptual problems with the old format that I thought needed to be addressed. For example, presenting the links to other blogs and/or online photo magazines like a telephone book I always found tremendously unattractive. What is more, the list was hard-coded into a template, so any time I wanted to change something it was a real kerfuffle.
If you go to the new Links section, you’ll see that while it still is a list, it’s very much improved: There are categories (in case you’re wondering, a blog/magazine can be in more than one category), there are short descriptions of the different links, plus I now can highlight my personal favourites, blogs or magazines that for me are recommended reads. What is more, blogs that become dormant/inactive I can mark as such.
So all in all, the Links became a bit more organized and easier too look through. Given the links are now stored in their own database, I can also modify them very easily. If you notice anything missing in the Links, just send me an email, and I’ll add it (provided, of course, it falls into the broader context of the blog). I will also be updating the Links regularly.
The second, even bigger change is the addition of Conscientious Extended, where all longer articles will be published (there will be a short post on the main blog introducing them, so you won’t miss anything). Currently, Conscientious Extended only contains the conversations, I yet have to move some of the other long articles.
Longer articles will also be featured at the very top of the main page. The combination of the features and of Conscientious Extended allows me to introduce a bit of a hierarchy here, so that short posts with a link to an incredibly cute kitty video after a few days will disappear from the main page, but a long review of a show, for example, won’t. Kitty fans needn’t despair, the post will still live on in the Archives, of course.
Coming to the Archives… The one thing that has always bothered me a lot about how blogs work is that they’re organized like diaries. Of course, that’s just the way it works, you post something first and something else afterwards. But just because I’m highlighting photographer A’s work on Monday doesn’t mean that on Tuesday her or his work is old news. In fact, her work is just as relevant as photographer B’s work, which I might post on that Tuesday.
“What’s the big deal?” you might ask. Well, over the past few years I’ve noticed people dismissing photography online as a machinery that encourages the consumption of photography, where we always have to see something new. While some people might indeed view it that way, I don’t subscribe to this idea at all. The big problem, of course, was that up until now I had no way of presenting photographers in a way that treated them all the same exactly the same, regardless of when I had linked to them.
But now things are different. If you click on Photographers in the Archives you’ll get to see them all (well, there currently are
16 17 pages), without any kind of “order”. There’s no “old” and “new” or “older and “newer”. On top of that, there is a grid of images, because, let’s face it, that’s what photography is about: Images. Move your mouse over an image and you’ll see who the photographer is.
Let me stress this: On this blog, a democracy of images (as corny as using the word “democracy” might sound here) is important for me. I don’t see anyone’s work as being older just because it was posted earlier. And I also don’t view the work of somebody who has never shown in a gallery as less (or more) important than the work of someone who sells her or his photos for a million bucks.
Moving on, the “Date” and “Category” archives are basically just what you know from the old blog. The “Categories” archive, of course, is an earlier attempt to organize the blog’s contents in a way that makes some sort of sense.
The final new addition is a Tags archive. I started tagging my whole blog, which, as you probably can imagine, is a lot of work; and it’s not done, yet. But there already is a way to access tagged posts.
I’ve always been a bit torn about using tags, because while in principle they’re a great idea, unless you can access them in a smart way, they end up as a mess. So instead of giving a huge page with lots of different words (the tags), the Tags archive uses a nifty animated cloud, which you can move around with your mouse. More frequently used tags are a little bit bigger. This might still not be ideal, but I do think it’s much better than seeing all the tags at once. Having them move allows the brain to notice different tags at different times.
There are a bunch of other additions that you will notice soon, including pull quotes (there’s one used here, you can see it on the side), plus new image galleries for posts.
Everything has been tested thoroughly, but of course, there might still be the occasional problem. If you notice anything funky just drop me a note. And I hope you’ll enjoy the “new” Conscientious.