About >Re:PHOTO

>Re: PHOTO is a blog about photography. ‘Re’ should be pronounced – following the reformed Latin pronunciation I learnt at the end of a plimsoll (how teaching methods have changed) as ‘ray’. Before e-mail we met ‘Re’ only in law reports and that’s how they said it too.

Rays are of course appropriate, both to the process of photography itself and also to my mission of spreading a little light on some of its darker areas. Two Rays have also contributed strongly to my own photography, one I never met, Tony Ray Jones, but whose take on the English has affected a generation of photographers, and the other, Ray Moore, whose work too was an inspiration, but whose comments on my own pictures spurred me on a trajectory not yet spent.

I’ve written about photography for over 30 years, and for seven years (1999-2007) wrote every editorial word on the photography site as Photography Guide for About.com, creating a major resource for photographers and anyone with an interest in the medium world-wide. These included many detailed features on the early years of photography, including detailed descriptions of all the major early processes and on the work of significant photographers.

There were also major reviews of the history of photography most countries in Latin America and various others around the world. The series of features covering early photography in India from the first colonial photographers to the first great Indian photographer, has been widely quoted. There were substantial essays on almost every celebrated major photographer, most of which attempted to give a new insight into their actual photographic work. and shorter pieces on well over 300 photographers, along with book and exhibition reviews and other features.

The site also tackled technical matters from a very practical standpoint, with of course particular attention to the change to digital photography. As well as features aimed at working photographers, there was a very wide range of basic information for those coming to photography for the first time.

As well as these articles, from June 2003 until May 2007 I wrote a daily column as a ‘blog’ on the front page, contributing well almost 1400 entries. While some were short notes – just a few sentences, others were also fairly substantial pieces. Although this material is no longer on-line at About.com, you can still find some of it in the Internet Archive (Wayback Machine.)

>Re: PHOTO will not be so prolific. And there will be no postings here to tell beginners how to load film into their digital cameras and photograph their pet dogs. Newcomers to the medium are welcome, but will need to want to learn more about it and to wipe their own noses.

>Re: PHOTO will assume that you can recognise irony, are not entirely fazed by British English spelling and have a serious interest in photography. I’ll attempt not to insult your intelligence and assume that if I use some ‘obscure’ technical jargon such as ‘aperture’ or ‘rangefinder’ or mention some unknown photographer such as ‘Henri Cartier-Bresson’ you will have heard of him (though I may still add a link to the feature I wrote about him, so long as it stays on-line.)

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