Posts Tagged ‘blog’

Swansong

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Another blog ends, along with that of Lens I wrote about yesterday.

I was very sorry to read that David Secombe has written his last post for ‘The London Column‘, a blog I’ve occasionally read over the years and which has featured the work of several people I know, mainly photographers. It’s “Pictorial reports from the life of a city 1951 to now” began in 2011 and they make some interesting reading, featuring “contributions from some of the best writers and photographers from the past sixty years“.

Swansong, published a couple of weeks ago, but which I only came across yesterday, takes a look at the work of Marketa Luskacova, with her pictures from Spitalfields in the late 1970s and early 80s along with her earlier pictures of middle-European pilgrims and the villagers of Sumiac, a remote Czech hill village, both of which featured in her show which closed last Sunday at Tate Britain.

It’s a show I mentioned on >Re:PHOTO in February, though really only in passing, in a piece mainly about the anti-Brexit SODEM protesters. In it I wrote:

‘Finally arriving at Tate Britain I had to find the show, which wasn’t easy – the gallery does really need to look at its signage. Finally I asked one of the gallery staff who didn’t really know but gave me a map and pointed in roughly the right direction. The show does continue until May 12th 2019, so if you start now there is some chance of finding it by then.’

This was echoed at the start of Secombe’ post:

‘Anyone staggering out of the harrowing Don McCullin show currently entering its final week at Tate Britain might easily overlook another photographic retrospective currently on display in the same venue. This other exhibit is so under-advertised that even a Tate steward standing ten metres from its entrance was unaware of it.’

But Secombe goes on to write at some length about Luskacova’s work, around eight well-chosen examples, concluding with the statement “It seems appropriate to close The London Column with Marketa’s magical, timeless images.”

So far as I can recall, I’ve never met Secombe, though we share many interests and his ‘Blogroll’ is largely of web sites which I visit at least occasionally and I’m sure we must have at least occasionally found ourselves at some of the same places at the same time. I do hope that he keeps the site online, as there is much on it that remains of interest.

Keeping up a blog like ‘The London Column’ takes a lot of time and effort – as does this one, and even more so, My London Diary (a blog in spirit though all my own website code, started back when blogs were in their infancy) I’ve often thought about bringing both to an end, but while this still gets a few thousands of readers everyday it seems as useful a way of spending my time.

Lens Ends

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

Sad news to hear that the New York Times Lens blog is to end at the end of this month, May 2019. You can read more about it on PDN News. The closure, described by the NYT as a “hiatus” for an indefinite period means the end of one of the more thoughtful and innovative blogs about our medium after around ten years, with a number of posts by James Estrin and his co-editors that I’ve mentioned here – though not as many as I might.

Meaghan Looram, NYT director of photography, says it is time to rethink and “give serious thought to how to better position Lens for the future.” I suspect that means a dumbing down and an end to contributions by people with any great love or knowledge of photography, though I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

Lens has been more than just another photography blog. As PDN points out it has promoted many emerging photographers as well as highlighting work from earlier eras that has often been overlooked or under-appreciated. And importantly, as it states “Lens is one of the few photo blogs to pay the photographers whose work it features.”

That’s an important point, not just because many photographers need the money – it’s very tough for many, particularly young photographers to make a living, but because so many others seem to assume that photographers can live on ‘exposure’. But exposure won’t pay the bills. Are the journalists, the printers and others involved in publications and campaigns working for free? When anyone asks me if they can use my pictures without payment I have a simple question to whoever is asking – ‘Are you being paid for your work? ‘

Of course my suspicions about Lens are based on my own experience with the NYT, who bought a company I worked for and ruined it because the bean counters were determined to aim at the lowest common denominator and forced out those of us who wanted to write intelligently. By the time they sold it on it had lost most of its financial value and virtually all of its credibility.