Back to School Sale

Being a teacher still gives me the same feeling every August I had as a kid, the impending fall semester and its signals of the end of summer. Nowadays that means a lot more than just riding my bmx a lot less. The juggling of 3 classes, several shows, lectures and occasional editorial work can get a bit out of hand.
Luckily the work of the students is enough to forget about chores and get excited about the classes.
This summer I had the honor of working with a few MFA candidates from Columbia College for a several week intensive web design class. We looked at a lot of websites. We looked at even more photography websites. We came to the conclusion many photography websites follow a formula. (Some even sell a templete of that formula). We decided that the challenge for the class was not just to make a portfolio site but to make ones that appeared outside ‘the formula’.
You vote:

  • Allison Grant
  • Brooke Berger
  • Nate Mathews
  • Grant Ray
  • Mike Reinders
  • Amy Wainwright
  • And for good measure (and following in the suburban theme of Bewersdorf), an earlier web student and recent Colum MFA grad just finally got his site all fine tuned:

  • Chris Schedel
  • ps. there are many many photographers on the internet.


    1. Posted August 16, 2007 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      All of these sites do fall inside the “formula” – though, admittedly, it’s hard to break away from a framework that really makes the most sense.

      Anyway, my vote goes to Brooke – best design, clean and easy to navigate, plus the ‘Co-Op’ project is nice.

    2. Posted August 17, 2007 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      What a difficult assignment -to break the formula. I am not sure it was accomplished in these sites – although I enjoy much of the work.

      Jason Fulford’s site is the answer to this assignment if you ask me. I enjoy revisiting his site, as you wander through it there is continual discovery. I love how the site itself mirrors the work he creates.

    3. Posted August 17, 2007 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Yes. I think Jason’s does a great job of that. Also Michael and Stephen Gill. For more classic design I love Katy Grannan’s site and Doug Dubois (save for the frustrating scrolling early work).

    4. Posted August 19, 2007 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      I agree that most of the sites sort of fall inside the formula. It’s a simple way to display work and be straight forward.
      I came across this unique portfolio that is fun, interactive and cheeky.

      *As much as I like Doug Dubois as a professor, the use of the flash scroll navigation that a lot of sites use is the worst! Bad choice.

    5. Posted August 20, 2007 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think any of these sites does anything like break out of the norm for photo sites. I also don’t think there’s a need to, seems like unless your site is the art, your site should be about showing the art, the simple graphic sites you show all do a great job of cleanly presenting the images in an easy to navigate manor, which is exactly what they should do. I’ve seen some people try to break for the norm sometimes with success like this and some horrible flops like this (any site that needs an instruction manual isn’t working), I like her work but finding it on her site is very hard. I’ve seen some really great design intensive site by commercial photographers but they are making sites to impress designers with there cool factor, and although the line between what a commercial photo and an art photo looks like has probably never been more fuzzy, it seems like an art photo site should be about simple presenting the images not wowing the viewer with wacky design.

    6. Posted August 28, 2007 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      Just a quick message from Groningen, the Netherlands: I’m really looking forward to seeing your work on the Noorderlicht Festival in my city.

    7. Posted August 28, 2007 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      I really liked the berger site, letting the pictures talk and is very simple..

    8. Posted August 28, 2007 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, hers has a simplicity that works quite well.
      I should clarify that the ‘formula’ we were trying to challenge was can the website be more than 20 pictures, a CV and a bio. Can the design, content and ‘aura’ of the site work to imform the pictures?

    9. Posted August 29, 2007 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      I like Mike Reinders site best. The opening page is simple and lovely and relates to the images, and although i generally HATE pop-ups, I do like that I can control how I look at the images, and think the scroll works well.

      Brooke Berger’s site is also nice, but I’m not sure that the paper background/frame works for me.

      the sites that are more “designed” are distracting to me, and I think they will be harder to update since they seem very specific to the work that is currently being shown. Rather than “informing” the images, the design elemnts (ie hair on tile, cloudy heading) compete with them.

      Nice work overall, and an interesting challenge.

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