How would you describe the specific flavour and interests of your blog?
DS: I provide reviews of photobooks which are based on projects, series, monographs or photographer biographies. I do not review books that address the technical or how-to aspects of photography.
Are comments allowed?
Describe your own background in relation to photography and why you decided to start a photography blog?
DS: I have been photographing for over 30 years, having my own black and white "wet" darkroom for fifteen years. I am primarily self taught with some undergradate Univeristy course work completed in two-dimensional fine art and photography. I attended John Sexton's early workshops while he was still teaching at Cypress College and working the bugs out of his workshop program. Subsequently he left Southern California to assist Ansel Adams. I took a 15 year break to paint, then came back to photography in 2001, lured by digital photographic processes. In April 2007 I stated my first personal photography blog, Singular Images and became familiar with the blogging process, now having made over 600 posts. I also became a member of a private photo blog for a year in 2007-8. In March 2008 I was asked to start the blog for a photographic fine art group that meets monthly at the Irvine Fine Art Center here in Southern California, The Photo Exchange. I developed this blog into a collaborative blog and we have four others contributors from the Exchange.
Concurrently, I had been publishing photobook reviews on my personal blog Singular Images and in September 2008 I deceided to create a separate stand alone blog which was entirely focused on something that I enjoy emensly, fine art photobooks. I sure had purchased enough of them over the years, so I just started on one side of my book case and began one by one to write a review about why I thought this photobook was either so great or a disappointment. And to write about specificily why the book worked and about what I thought the photograher was trying to convey, so it has evloved somewhat into some critical writing about photography.
In your experience what have been the highs and lows of blogging? Are there any particular pitfalls to owning a photography-related blog?
DS: The highs come about when you realize someone is actually reading what you write and then posts an insightful comment to create an open dialog. And one day you check your readership stats, and you find that upwards of 800 people are reading your blog each day. I also really appreciate when a photographer whose book I just reviewed sends me an email stating that they really like my writing and that I was one of the few who actually "got it" as to what they were tying to accomplish with their published project.
The lows of blogging come when you find yourself thinking that you need to publish something, in order to keep folks interested in your blog. That's usually when I drop out of participating on a blog or stop publishing it. Thus my blog The PhotoBook does not have a constant flow of new material, sometimes I will publish a new photobook review about once per week. I am interested in the quality of my writing, the depth and potential insights of my review, what I can contribute in a meaningful way, thus I publish somewhat randomly. Quality, not Quantity.
What are your top three picks from the world of photography in the last 12 months?
DS: Hmmmm, this may be difficult. What I am finding is that what is catching my interest is usually contained within the photobooks that I am reviewing. Such as the increased amount of photo-story telling I see originating out of Europe. Trying to come to grips with photographic Post-Modernism (I came up in the Westen school of Modernism). Some of the progressive layouts and book designs that are being attempted by the small photobook publishers that seem to then affect the display and presentation of photogaphs within galleries. How the current crop of curators are looking at photography, as to what is photography or a photograph and some of the critical writing they subsequently publish as well as the exhibits they show.
If you could only subscribe to one blog (other than your own of course) which would it be and why?
DS: Yikes, this is extremely tough one! There are such a wide array of quality blogs that are available. At the moment, I would go with Exposure Compensation written by Miguel Garcia-Guzman. He is constantly looking at a wide range of photographic work that is available on the web and then articluates his thoughts about what he sees in a meaningful way.