Over the years I have been writing this blog, there have been a number of occasions when I’ve trashed it, removed all the past content and started over again from scratch because in quite a short time, ‘current affairs’ simply cease to be current. Gordon Brown so important and dominant earlier this century as Chancellor and even PM, is probably as relevant in the minds of young people in their early twenties as Queen Victoria is.
What and who seemed so important at one moment in time becomes irrelevant and meaningless a year or so later. But this time I have been working on something different in terms of doing an upgrade so this post is about this for any who may be interested.
Another New Start
The last time I did a major revamp, I included a section of photographs I had taken laid out in “galleries” of related content but the truth is looking back, it was totally the wrong way for me to approach it. The problem was you had to find 6 or 10 similar photographs to make up a ‘gallery’ but once that was done, it was “done” and it never got revisited by me and therefore the picture section just stagnated. In part what made this unworkable was that creating gallery content is a curating/librarian role that is totally different from my focus as a photographer which is on individual images. It is a bit like music, when a musician creates a great track and is then under pressure from their record label to create enough tracks to fill an album, often the “other” tracks can be either indifferent or just plain dross.
Failing in this way was not what I intended as a keen photographer so I spent time trying to think of a better way of doing things but it all became a bit “I’ll get round to it…” and therefore prevarication overtook me and made me its prisoner ! That is until recently when I have finally broken free from my lethargy and grasped what I wanted to do. Actually I’m being unfair to myself, on a local test website I have been experimenting for months with different layouts, themes and WordPress plugins to try and evolve a more dynamic approach but nothing really worked for me until having gone full circle, I realised exactly what I wanted to do and having done so, work out how to do it.
My first step was to clear all the ‘galleries’ from this site and instead create another site dedicated to pictures or images. In reality there is no need to set up a completely new domain, I just created a sub domain for pictures off this existing site so now there is the original www.baldysblog.co.uk and also http://pictures.baldysblog.co.uk/blog/ . What this means is that they are both independent sites that can be accessed separately, you don’t have to go to one to access the other and this is important. If someone is interested in my pictures, they should be able to go to that site directly and not be bothered with my views on the state of the world.
But the big “breakthrough” if I dare call the blooming obvious such a thing, was for me to realise just what had been nagging away at the back of my mind which was that the ‘gallery’ thing was all wrong for what I wanted to do. I am a keen photographer and what I’m trying to do is capture single images which are “stand alone” and do not, should not be part of a collection. I’m not a wedding photographer or one on a fashion shoot, I am someone who uses a camera and takes pictures most days, I photograph what I see around me and maybe out of dozens of photographs, only one may be worth displaying.
The obvious format then becomes a parallel to my blog posts, I will post single images and categorise them the same as I might a post on this site, if people want ‘collections’ they can use the WordPress tag system to create them on the fly. Having arrived at this point it just seems so silly that I didn’t latch on to it earlier because just like I blog at random intervals on baldysblog as the news and muse takes me, so too with publishing my pictures. The point is that it makes more sense for me to publish individual images because then I can focus on each and impose some kind of ‘quality criteria’ before I post anything, well that’s the aim.
However, whilst I have tried to follow this principle faithfully, for the launch I have done a series of batches to kick things off so that there is a initial ‘body of work’, editorially things will get tighter over time I’m sure.
Something in the Name
Calling the site “pictures” rather than photographs is quite deliberate because although the basis of the majority will be photographs, as I am fairly heavily into post production techniques in the “digital darkroom” and sometimes the results can be more an evolved image than just the original photograph. This is fine with me because I deliberately always shoot in RAW precisely because I can remake the lighting and change the emphasis in ‘post’ to create the image I wanted.
However and although not for immediate publication, I am also developing multimedia and video work in various formats as a logical extension to my photography so in future times my picture sub domain will be a better place to display them than my original blog. The bottom line is that I see exciting times ahead for me in creative terms so building a suitable platform to showcase that work seems appropriate, we will all see how it progresses over time.
Although I have an off-line website where I play and experiment, a bit like ‘doing it for real’, I already have the site up and running though it may take a few weeks of tweaking and changing around until I’m satisfied with the format as a platform that can also embrace future work. This may seem an odd approach but “going public” even though in reality nobody will notice, does have the effect of creating that important sense of urgency to drive me on to get things done !