How would you describe the specific flavour and interests of your blog?
GH: Over the past 18 months the blog has evolved. I have personally come from a long documentary photography tradition. That's the genre I have always responded to. In other words you are not going to see pure landscape or abstract work on Verve Photo. On the other hand, I'm open to pushing the boundaries of what defines "documentary" imagery. For example I include large format work that is of a very personal nature. That's not exactly what most people think of as photojournalism.
I think part of the success of the blog is based on what the photographers write about their work. It's a fine line. Their statements could easily sound self-indulgent or pretentious but they contain some gems of inspiration. I personally love to read how artists think their creative process.
I make a point to personally contact each artist by email before posting their work. In some cases it takes a certain amount of time with some of the less verbal ones to get them to send me a written statement about their work. I have to pull it out of them. I think it helps that we speak the same language, the language of images.
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Describe your own background in relation to photography and why you decided to start a photography blog?
GH: I've been a documentary photographer for over 30 years and was struck by the terrific work being produced by what I began to think of as the new breed of documentary photographer. It is a younger generation who are relocating to other parts of the world, settling in and doing in-depth photo essays. Another thing is that I have directly experienced so many changes transitioning from analogue to digital photography. It's been both a curse and a blessing. At the same time I embraced the web early on so it was natural for me to start blogging about the work that inspired me.
For many years I worked as a photo editor with the major photo agencies Black Star (NYC), Sipa Press (Paris) and even the Sierra Club (San Francisco), so I had a lot of editing experience. I run Verve almost like a print magazine in that there is often planning a couple of months ahead of the posts.
In your experience what have been the highs and lows of blogging? Are there any particular pitfalls to owning a photography-related blog?
GH: It's been a very positive experience knowing that the Verve Photo audience is very appreciative of the work. I myself have intentionally kept a low profile, believing that the photos and artists speak for themselves. Contacting the photographers, reviewing their work, and choosing a photo can be a time-consuming process. I wish there were more of a dialogue with those who comment on the blog instead of viewers writing in just a brief sentence.
What are your top three picks from the world of photography in the last 12 months?
GH: I continue to see so much powerful work. It's difficult and unfair to single some out but the likes of George Georgiou, Felicia Webb and Q. Sakamaki are just a few that come to mind. Each of them has such a distinct way of seeing.
If you could only subscribe to one blog (other than your own of course) which would it be and why?
GH: This past year I've been teaching Interactive Media combined with Photography and have often referred to a wonderful resource called "Teaching Online Journalism" by Mindy McAdams.