Research – Project specific websites
I am now at the stage of the course where I am seriously considering all options for the final presentation of my body of work. Although an exhibition seems to be the most popular option for many level three students I am looking at all options available to me including a book, and a project specific website and maybe even an artists talk. In this post I will look at how other artists have approached making a project specific website as a way to promote their work and to disseminate it using the internet. One benefit of doing this (instead of an exhibition for example) is that the website is more permanent and it can potentially reach a much wider audience. I will include below links to some websites that I have researched and briefly review them. I will consider carefully the content included in the website and the design.
Because my body of work is very research heavy it has given me lots of material that could potentially be showcased in this way. It could be beneficial to give the audience a more in-depth back story to my photographs by including archive material on the website. This could include old newspaper articles from the time of the crimes, photographs of the actual victims and possibly the suspects as well as back ground information that I have found in books etc. I like the idea of having a project specific website as it would allow me to show my work as the project develops. Their is a chance that I could continue with this project in the future and expand the areas that I might cover, possibly even making photographs abroad. I recently read an interesting article about an ancient road in Japan where travellers were often attacked and killed. Wherever this happened a small shrine by the roadside. This is similar in some ways to the memorials made for road traffic accident victims in this country.
This website looks like a standard portfolio website that many photographers and artists have. Their is nothing wrong with this. The layout is simple and clear. It allows the viewer to navigate the site easily. I think the work of Chloe Dewe-Mathews suits this style of site as she does not have the same amount of text and archive material that The Sochi Project for example has. The gallery of photographs can be viewed in a tiled format and once you click on an image to enlarge it you can then scroll through the following pictures. After a second look at the gallery and comparing to We-English I have to admit I don’t really like the tiled format for a gallery. As well as her photographs Dewe-Mathews includes background information about the project as well as a list of places where she has exhibited the work and details of her book. Overall a nice site, but I feel like a bit more information could have been included, For example information about the trials, the mental state of the soldiers and the battles that they had been involved in.
When you open The Sochi Project website you are greeted with a short introductory video. This video sets the tone for the entire project and gives you a brief idea of why the project came about. The project is a collaboration between photographer Rob Hornstra and writer Arnold Van Bruggen. The website is broken down into eight separate ‘chapters’. As you open each chapter you immediately notice quite a lot of text supplements with photographs and videos. You can scroll down to see more information giving the site a blog feel. The pictures on the site are a combination of recently made images and older archive material. The layout reminds me a bit of a magazine. It captures the imagination and draws you in with the lively imagery. The in-depth text describes the history of the Caucasus where Sochi and the problems that envelope the area. The irony of the huge amounts of money spent on the winter Olympics there becomes quite troubling when you understand more about the area. It is evident that this project is extremely well researched. One small criticism of the site is that sometimes there is so much going on it becomes a little difficult to navigate it. Overall this is an extremely well put together and informative website showing the best work of Hornstra and Bruggen in an appealing way.
This website has an intriguing opening page. It kind of looks like a bar chart I would draw at school, but one created with tiny photographs stacked above each other. It immediately draws a viewer in, what does it mean? The page slowly scrolls to the left and it then becomes apparent that the pictures are arranged in date order. When you click on one of the tiny images a larger version appears and text detailing some horrific murder or shocking death appears next to it. Also a map with the exact location of the place appears. Click on the image again and you see a full size image in a blog site. Its quite unusual how you seem to move between what looks like a portfolio site to a blog. There is a huge amount of information on the blog, this is due in part to the disturbingly large amount of murders in the city of Chicago during a three month period. I really like the inclusion of a map detailing exact locations of crimes. This could be something I would include on my own site? The site and blog combo are easy to navigate and the photographs can be viewed at full size on the blog. The concept is very straight forward but fascinating. It feels like a website that you can revisit again and again. Each time you might click on a different day and different photograph (there are so many). The blog has a handy search function that allows the viewer to refine there search to a particular criteria, age for example. Someone who knows the area might even search by name. A slightly depressing project is showcased in a methodical and almost clinical way on a website and blog combo.
I have been a fan of Simon’s for quite some time. I have his book Motherland which was made when he travelled around Russia with his wife. The book was a combination of portraits and landscape images. I believe he used a Mamiya 7 analogue camera. For We-English he switched to large format and decided to concentrate on Landscapes, Landscapes inhabited by people. This project specific website is an excellent platform for promoting his work made for We-English. His pictures are displayed in large clear slideshow type galleries. It has pages that give information on exhibtions and events, a blog, Roberts CV, a reviews page, and an online shop. The first page includes an introduction to the project and a review by Francis Hogdson. What I found fascinating about the site was an ‘ideas’ page which allows the public to send him detailed information for possible locations that he could photograph in the future (He is letting other people do his research for him!). The layout of the website is quite simple really with links at the top of the page allowing the photographs to be displayed in a larger space. Simon’s work is impeccable and it is the pictures that make this website really stand out.
I am doing a lot of my research for this course on my ipad. This site does not open on my ipad due to its reliance on flash media, this is a big fail I’m afraid. Ipads and Iphones are prelific and if your website is not viewable on these devices it is a big problem.