On Web Form And Photography

Form clearly plays an important part in defining what we do here in the photo blogosphere. You are, of course, reading this on a screen as opposed to in a magazine or on the pages of a book; an obvious fact, but one in which the ramifications have yet to become clear in regard to how we take pictures and how we look at pictures in general. This topic is, in some ways, one of the themes that this blog hopes to address. But it should also be noted that the way that websites themselves are designed really defines what we take away from them.

That should be clear to anyone who reads a photo blog: Organized chronologically, photo blogs are set up in a way that once a post disappears off the front page, it is essentially lost forever. There are some advantages to this method of consumption – for example, the reader sees alot of different photographers’ work. But this work is usually presented only in the form of one or a handful of images. These images are frequently disconnected and have only a fragmentary relationship to a larger body of work: Strong individual images are encouraged, and concepts that are easy to understand in the relatively brief space of the blog form.

Others have noticed this tendency before – I’ve had numerous conversations with other bloggers about how best to get readers to explore work that has been mentioned before and is no less interesting or valuable than work that just happens to have been mentioned in the last 2 weeks or so…

At any rate, this manifestation of On Shadow is yet another experiment into how to present photography on the web. We’ve tried to forefront our archive. We are keeping a chronological front page, to allow return viewers to see what’s new. But as posts slide into our archive, the photographers themselves are listed alphabetically by last name, so readers can easily access and reference the projects presented on the site. Essays and interviews here will be posted relatively frequently and with an emphasis on timelessness (as much as possible) – revising written content in response to new thoughts and reader input will be an important part of how this site functions. And we’ll be presenting all original content and projects without simply pointing the reader elsewhere on the web.

All in all, this blog will function somewhere between a webmagazine, an online exhibition, and a traditional photo blog. We sincerely hope you enjoy it.