We made some adjustments and are ready for another year
Well, that round of revisions didn’t take nearly as long as we anticipated. Last year, we ran into significant issues with what we thought would be simple upgrades and it took us a full month to get everything straightened out. This year, while we didn’t expect to be gone a full month, we did figure that we’d be out a full week at the very least. Much to my delight, we were wrong. The updates and revisions came quickly and easily for the most part. The biggest time hit was a highly modified picture of Kat that you’ll see half-way down the home page.
Most of the changes we made are to operational things under the covers, so to speak. If everything goes well, you shouldn’t see them. You should see lower data consumption if you’re accessing us on a mobile device without wi-fi, but the speed is totally up to your provider. There’s not a lot more we can do to help you out there. Remember, this is still the website of a photographer. There are going to be pictures. That will never change.
We are making some changes that you will see, though. While they may not be earth-shattering to any degree, they represent changes in our reality, our world, and our artistic vision. We don’t believe in being static. One of the reasons we make these annual revisions is because we don’t think our website should stay the same when the people behind the website have changed. I may be getting older, but that doesn’t mean my ideas and opinions are set in concrete. Let me explain some of the big ones.
Our World In Black -And-White
Regular readers are going to see a lot more black-and-white imagery on these pages over the next twelve months. That doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t have any color at all, but it will be increasingly rare. There are three reasons for this decision.
First, we just haven’t done that much black-and-white processing in a while. When looking for some specific images the past couple of days, I noticed that we really hadn’t given much black-and-white effort to non-nude images. While there are plenty of black-and-white nudes, very few of our editorial shots have received the same treatment. We would like to change that. What this means is that you may see some images we’ve used before re-processed in monochrome. We’ll see how well that works.
Second, while I like black-and-white imagery, getting there digitally is often challenging. As we’ve mentioned before, digital photographs are inherently captured in color, no matter what setting one may have on their camera. Conversion to black-and-white can be simple if one doesn’t have much knowledge of varying film tonalities. For better or worse, however, I do have that knowledge and getting the black-and-white tonality that I really like has been something that has dogged me for years. While we’ve improved significantly over the past five years, there’s still a measure of refinement that I want to see.
Third, artistically, I’m not all that excited about the condition of our world at the moment and conveying that world in color too often seems frivolous. I’m pretty sure we’re going to be covering some serious issues over the coming year and pairing those with color photos, artistically, feels like we’re denying just how important the issues are. While the pictures rarely match the news topics, we don’t want them to be completely off-message, either.
The News You Need
One of my biggest challenges this past year has been trying to find a balance between commenting on the incredible amount of news that affects us and the major fields of photography, fashion, music, and advertising that dominate our work. There have been too many times when I’ve had to back-burner an issue for a couple of days because what was happening elsewhere was just too important to ignore. Unfortunately, I don’t expect that situation to change any over the next year.
So, our first article every morning is going to look at five news articles we think are important. Mind you, they may not be the stories that are trending in your social media feeds. We’re going to be looking specifically for those stories that are being under-reported, as well as correcting some that we find contain misinformation, such as Air Force One costing $4 billion (not even close to accurate). Our sources are going to be ones we trust: Associated Press, Reuters, and NPR. We’ll use others when it is appropriate, but we’ll be looking primarily at those three for the bulk of our information.
This gives me the ability to focus on more narrow issues with our second article. These will be longer reads where we take the time to dig into the matter, explore the history and causation as well as the effect. Or, in some cases, just revel in how wonderful a new idea is or the beauty of newly released music. I want to spend more time with articles that are more in our wheelhouse rather than simply reacting to the nonsense in the world all the time. We’ll still do a “sermon” on Sunday (most weeks), and we’re also toying with the idea of making the news article one that includes video. No promises on that, though. There are some logistics to work out.
It’s The Little Things That Count
All the remaining changes are things that are relatively small and may not affect your viewing in any significant way, but they do still matter. For example, one of the things that plagued us for the past year was an issue with the captcha on our contact form. The field where one was supposed to enter the captcha was white. Unfortunately, so was the text. That meant one had little idea whether they were entering the captcha correctly or not. We’ve fixed that. The field is now black and the text is white. My biggest concern now is that it may make it easier for people to gripe. Should you feel the urge to be negative, please don’t.
We’ve also added the ability to footnote references in articles. Granted, it is rare our readers ever check our sources. Checking sources is something we think one should do with every news story, however. The preponderance of fake news requires that readers become more involved in verifying the authenticity of what they read. Footnoting our articles makes that a little easier. We hope it is a feature that you use often.
Things have been moved around on the home page. We’ll be mixing up the images there more frequently so that it’s not the same pictures all year long. We’ve also added an introductory video you’ll want to watch. We’ll be doing more video integration this year with both our YouTube and Vimeo channels. I’m not going to commit to any frequency because of the overwhelming about of time video takes to prepare, but you’ll definitely see us use that tool more often.
Finally, we want you to subscribe to our pages so that you’ll be updated by email whenever we add something new. While we try to stay on a pretty consistent schedule, doing so has become increasingly difficult. We can’t promise to always have our first article done before 8:00 AM and we have no idea when or if there will be a second article every day. Our schedules are already too complex and that’s only going to get worse this year. Subscribing helps you keep up to date and helps us validate to potential clients/advertisers that someone is actually reading this stuff. All we need is your email address, which not only do we not sell, but thanks to technology I don’t even have to see it. Yes, it really does matter to us. The form is either right after this article (if you’re on a mobile device) or at the top of the right-hand column if you’re still reading from a desktop (my preferred choice).
So that’s it! We’re likely to tweak things here and there, but the big changes have been made and we’re ready to charge into the next 12 months with all available weapons blazing. Thank you for taking this ride with us and please be sure to share with your friends and enemies.