The Art of the Photo Blog

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The photography blog is its own art form. There are the personal blogs, running from the diaristic to the professional, and the blogs that act as visual archives and news bulletins, posting about the larger cultural climate of arts and photography. If you have a semblance of interest in photography at the current moment, you have undoubtedly looked at both kinds, and likely have your own list of favorites.

Ofer Wolberger started his blog, Horses Think, in August 2007; almost five years later, he has nearly 1,300 subscribers to his RSS feed. Posting a combination of videos, events, calls for entry, and interesting photographic projects, Wolberger began his project without expectations, hoping simply to "engage in a conversation that was only happening online." As it turned out, Horses Think not only created a forum for virtual dialogue but, interestingly, helped forge real life connections. The Brooklyn-based Wolberger has met many current friends through the project. "The community that has formed as a result of the site has been the best part," he adds.

While it has become pivotal for artists to have an online presence, there is a reason you don't see many painting blogs. Active photography feeds proliferate the blogosphere because of the specific nature of the medium. Unlike art forms that have three-dimensional surface qualities, photography is perfect for viewing on a screen. In addition, as it becomes more and more a digital medium in itself, the Internet is the perfect platform for reproducibility and distribution. Still, the photo blog doesn't escape a certain ethical and aesthetic conundrum. As Wolberger puts it, "Experiencing photographs online is not really experiencing them at all...there is always a little disappointment when looking at work on a screen. Unless it is a project intended for the web only, it is important to remember that we are experiencing a reproduction." This is what photo bloggers and readers must grapple with: knowing when to slow down in the face of a medium -- and its platform -- that moves at the speed of light.

With that promise and complication in mind, here's a list of some interesting photography blogs. Beware the lovely rabbit hole into which they lead.


1. American Suburb X:Founded in 2008 by Doug Rickard (whose own photographs are currently up now in San Francisco's Pier 24 galleries), ASX now receives over 100,000 unique visitors a month. The site is an incredible archive of photographs, contemporary and historic, along with critical essays and interviews that Rickard has collected and posted. Of those selected here, ASX has the most depth of critical content.

2. In the Make:Who isn't interested in a peek behind the curtain? This Bay Area-based blog run by friends Klea McKenna and Nikki Grattan takes weekly visits to different artists studios in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Marin and beyond. The photographer/writer pair visits a different Bay Area artist's studio each week. Along with Grattan's interviews, McKenna's images of the artists, their work, and their studio environments are provocative and serene.

3. Once:For the photojournalists out there, Once is a photography magazine designed exclusively for the iPad by a team of Bay Area photographers, journalists, and editors. This blog features some of the essays and photographs from the virtual magazine -- currently viewable for free on their homepage -- as well as the adventures of its publishers in its promotion. (If you are interested in documentary photography projects, Documentary Platform is another great resource.)

4. Photo Booth:If you subscribe to the New Yorker, their photography-specific site may be of interest. Updated near-daily, the blog features timely photographs or slideshows and commentary by the photography editors and researchers at the magazine. Their reach extends far beyond New York. Last week, the blog highlighted the Wattis Institute's new show More American Photographs. If this format appeals to you, the New York Review of Books' NYR Blog and NPR's Picture Show are both blogs that use photographs as a lynchpin for cultural commentary.

5. I Like This Blog:The title says it all. Curated by eleven editors, ILTB includes a diverse group of mediums in addition to photography -- video/media projects, drawings, performance documentation, etc. The blog also commissions five-question interviews, "virtual" essays and videos of artists speaking about other artists whom they admire. Though the content is vast, the blog is clean and uncluttered, which can be a relief in a virtual world in which more is not always more.

6. The Photography Post: Run by three editors based in Brooklyn, this blog's content is all original. It covers a wide range within photography, including fashion, commercial and reportage. In addition to photography job postings, there are live feeds to over fifty other photography blogs, ranging from the personal to the political, so if you find my little list of sites to be helpful, eat your heart out at The Photography Post.

7. Lovebryan: Personal photography blogs have the potential to be horrible, self-indulgent and rambling outlets. But they also have the potential to be great: full of wildness and intimate daring. They can provide a platform for a less static, more organic work flow; a miniature, evolving project space somewhere between a website and a diary. The Bay Area-based photographer Sandy Kim's blog is such a site. But be warned, there are some nude shots, so this destination may not always be safe for work!

8. Little Brown Mushroom Blog: The brainchild of renowned fine art photographer Alec Soth, this blog is more a dedication to photo books than photographs themselves. Soth posts regularly about his own magazine, Lonely Boy Mag, and his adventures in the photo world. It is a funny, lively, and informative look into a contemporary practitioner.