I’m jumping on this blog bandwagon a bit late, but better late than never, I suppose. I’m in the process of redesigning my online galleries at www.jasonkimphotography.com, so this seems like a good opportunity to get a blog rolling.
This is my third site redesign in as many years, and anyone who’s undertaken such an endeavor can appreciate how I’m feeling right now. A little excited and a bit overwhelmed, but the creative juices are flowing and I’m anxious to get everything up and running. Photography is a visual art, and the internet is the primary way I share my art with the world. The world being comprised of my immediate family, a few friends, and the occasional stranger who stumbles across my site. A small world, indeed!
My previous website was inherently flawed – the inability to view user statistics being one of the major issues. Now, I will be able to say with confidence that my site doesn’t get any traffic. Before, it was (at best) a wild guess.
Being able to track my traffic, however paltry it may be, is important, though. At a turtle’s pace, I am putting together a portfolio of landscape images that I feel are worthy of display. I’m starting to sell the occasional print (very occasional) and if there exists an audience that enjoys looking at my work, it would seem prudent to manage my online presence with them in mind. Which raises the question – who is my audience? Frankly, I don’t really know, but I figure that the quality of my images and the content I provide will play an important role in attracting this mysterious group of people. In that sense, I am starting from scratch, so if you’re reading this, welcome!
The purpose of this blog, among other things, is to add value to my images. Let’s face it, there’s no shortage of stunning landscape photographs in this new era of affordable DSLR’s and the internet. The net affects nearly every aspect of our lives, but just think what it’s done for photography. The exchange of ideas, techniques, critiques, locations, equipment, and most importantly – the ability to shoot a photograph this morning and have it viewed by hundreds, thousands, or possibly millions of people this afternoon. Digital images, which are ephemeral by their very nature, are now paradoxically as permanent and long-lasting as the cave paintings at Lascaux.
The internet is the most effective art gallery ever conceived by humankind, and it’s growing every day. If your images are especially outstanding, a simple slide show might be enough to draw and hold an audience. As for my myself, I have no illusions that my portfolio is compelling enough to accomplish this without some, er, help. That doesn’t bother me, though, since I also love to write. I am a story teller as much as I am a photographer, and merging these fields of interest seems like a perfect way to bring my own unique voice to my artwork.
So, when I say that I want to add value to my images, I’m really looking for a way to connect with my audience on a deeper level. Landscape images – even the stunning ones – seem to be a dime a dozen these days. I was recently looking through Nate Zeman’s website and came across his wonderful image of Delicate Arch in snow. This is one of the finest images I’ve seen from this iconic location, but it’s still Delicate Arch. It’s a scene that I’ve seen so many times that I can’t help but feel jaded. It’s really sad, actually. Yet, like a dog chasing its tail, landscape photographers continue to flock to these icons, which only exacerbates the problem. Indeed, I’ve devoted considerable energy to so-called icon photography, and try as I might, I continue to find myself drawn to these locations despite any misgivings I might have.
But getting back to my point. Nate’s image is absolutely beautiful, but it’s the short anecdote that he included which really resonates with me. In a few short words, I experienced a small part of the journey that resulted in that photograph.
I’ve heard it said that the single goal in photography should be the final print, but I couldn’t disagree more. I love photography for the path that one must walk to make (or sometimes fail to make) an effective image. The planning, the adventure, the discovery, the technicality – and, of course, that all-too-fleeting moment when the light is just right.
Sometimes, rarely, the final image is so wonderfully effective that it communicates this journey to the viewer through visual means alone. But, more often, a short story or anecdote goes a long way to help the viewer understand what it felt like to be standing there at that moment. Or, perhaps a sequence of images will tell the story best. Of course, there are certain images like Guy Tal’s wonderful Foam Patterns that might inspire mystery or inquisitiveness in the viewer, and a story would be unnecessary or possibly even distracting.
To sum things up, I’m passionate about photography and I look forward to sharing my thoughts and feelings on the subject. If you’re interested, I invite you to follow along and participate, or just lurk as I often do.