How would you describe the specific flavour and interests of your blog?
HK & NB: It is said you cannot jump over your own shadow, so no easy answers here. I guess we just follow our nose, and our nose takes us to many different places, online and offline. We don't like the idea of limiting ourselves in any way, so we cover a lot of photographic territory. We like the ambiguous, the ironic, the things that aren't so clear, but mostly we like people to make up their own mind about things, which can be quite infuriating at times, so we have noticed. Other than that, I think you can say the blog has a predominantly continental European flavour, with a preference for things that are maybe not so mainstream.
Are comments allowed?
HK & NB: Yes, but within limits. It's appreciated if people remember we're still the hosts of this place, even if it is open to the public 24/7.
Describe your own background in relation to photography and why you decided to start a photography blog?
HK & NB: We have a joint practice in the visual arts, out of which developed the need to engage with photography in the widest sense of the word. We've educated ourselves partly with the material made available by the online community. It was our second home, our school, and at some point we wanted to feed back into this community those thoughts and ideas it engendered, with the idea of adding to the conversation and perhaps get some response. Joerg Colberg from Conscientious encouraged us a lot and has been a tremendous help especially in the beginning, getting the word out and all that. Since then, it's been an amazing three years of blogging.
In your experience what have been the highs and lows of blogging? Are there any particular pitfalls to owning a photography-related blog?
HK & NB: Blogging can bring many good things, a lot of them have already been mentioned. I can still be a bit flabbergasted about the effect our scribbling from the provincial backwaters of Holland can have on the career of people on the other side of the globe. The old mantra of 'location, location, location' has effectively been changed by the Internet, which works with a totally different gravitational map.
The writing of the actual posts can be the biggest pleasure as well as the most dreaded thing of the day, depending on the circumstances and the amount of work still waiting for me. I find myself obsessed with the relationship and interdependency of language and photography. Blogging offers me a rewarding way of exploring this field.
What are your top three picks from the world of photography in the last 12 months?
HK & NB: (1) Certainly not new, but The eye and the camera. A history of photography from the collections of the Albertina in Vienna is a book we come back to over and over again. We keep discovering new things in it, because of it, with it. It's proven an extremely useful and inspiring purchase for us personally.
(2) The immense growth of digital imaging has of course largely eaten away the mass market for the analog techniques and products as we have known and used them for decades. One of the curious side effects of this decline has been that it has broken up an essentially ossified market, where apparently everything had been done, worked out, solved, taken care of. Suddenly, people feel free to start experimenting again with chemistry, with finding their own solutions, playing around with trichromie, building machines or, on a larger scale, try to invent entire new production methods like with The Impossible Project. This development, for a substantial part, we owe to the digital revolution and a lively Internet community willing to share and exchange. Of course we don't know where this is all headed, but sometimes it's good to just see things moving again.
(3) It is certainly not our field of expertise, but we did follow the increasing number of cases last year where copyright has already or is in danger of being transferred from the maker of an image to the distributor of it. It's somehow very difficult to wrap your head around what's actually happening here, apart from all the injustice and indignations. There are clear conceptual parallels with the case of Monsanto and other large companies patenting seeds, even those of indigenous plants, and dictating what can be grown and what not. There is this feeling that what we are witnessing is the brutal paving of the way for fundamental changes in the organisation of our states and societies - only this time there is no such thing as a brave new world.
If you could only subscribe to one blog (other than your own of course) which would it be and why?
HK & NB: Picking only one blog would be completely against the spirit of blogging, which is polyphonic in nature. That's why there are feed readers and side bars. Try ours! Personally, we tend to particularly favour intelligently written blogs that manage to bring together a wide diversity of interests and materials within a clever, comprehensive format, all this preferably of a non-commercial and non-corporate nature.