Photographer or a Geek – or both?

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 in Photography, Web | No Comments

I have gotten couple of times into a heated conversation lately about the role of a photographer: should you only produce images and leave it at that – or should you also get involved into the presentation of your images. “You moron, you just compromise yourself as photographer when you start hacking the code  yourself…” is the argument I have heard more than once.

As I am very much interested in the way our media will look in the future, I naturally stand behind the argument that one should be involved all the way. Hell, if I am often not happy about the layout on a simple, white, printed page/spread, you can imagine my frustration when my images are displayed  on a page which looks like  Flicker from the nineties – if it did exist those days – or something of that level.

But I get the counter-argument: if you start worrying too much about the coding/computer part of rich-media production, you lose your focus as photographer. You should stick to your own field – that is, photography. Or is it?

Click on the image to view the website

Click on the image to view the actual live website

I’m sure I’ll be addressing this issue in the future – a lot – but let me show a very simple example from last week, which I hope illustrates one aspect of this.

This is not journalistic work, this is a simple assignment done for the B-to-B -marketing of the TV network I work for. I was asked to shoot a venue – not for publication, but as a collection of “professional snapshots” for the participants who had attended. The venue was karting – by invitation only – with a special guest, F1-driver Heikki Kovalainen.  Images of – and for – important VIPs and their children, something  to remember this unique occasion by.

I don’t think my client had a solid plan as how to showcase the pictures  when they contacted me, so I suggested  I’d do a simple layout and host the material on my server. They agreed and this is what I came up with.

Very simple: several 360×180° images on the banner,  a timer set so that each image is played c. 8 seconds, looping. Under the banner a flashbased slideshow of the venue highlights (c. 15 images) with X-fade thru white,  and a short leading text with links to the company website (and a video of the event), a picture gallery of c. 180 images and a feedback form. Company logos etc. naturally displayed as they should be.

All done in concordance with the visual style of the invitation email they had sent –  and with the visual look of the MTV3-website in general.

Now: they could have gone the easy way and just plastered the images on a HTML-page, using some readymade template – maybe even used an external service, such as Flicker – but I am happy they accepted my suggestion to do something a bit more customized.

Would my images been any better if I had not done the coding? This kind of work, I don’t think so. Did the client get  more value for their money?  I should definitely say so.

Was it worth for me – i.e did I get a better compensation for doing that? No, this time I didn’t – and I didn’t ask for that, either.

But, for me, the question is: will they hire me next year to do the same thing again?

I’m pretty confident they will.

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