November 11, 1996
By JASON CHERVOKAS & TOM WATSON
New York Photographershotographers are a different breed. Just ask any news editor or creative director around town. Words are secondary (except for credits), and images define the world. And of course they are inquisitive about any technology related to those images.
Migrate Toward the Web
Naturally, photographers have been drawn to the Web like light rays through an open aperture.
Veteran photographer Joseph Pobereskin maintains a Web site that features some of his best work, including a series of photos of New York and the Statue of Liberty.
In New York, while the literary e-zine has captured most of the headlines in the self-publishing phenomenon, photography occupies an important place in the fabric of the Web. From virtual galleries to personal portfolios, wedding studios to experimental image projects, photography splashes vividly across New York Web sites.
And like many of Gotham's newly minted content providers, the town's shutterbugs are having a hard a time making money online.
Take the veteran photographer Joseph Pobereskin, who specializes in high-end work for corporate, editorial and advertising clients. He maintains a good looking Web site that features some of his best work, including a series of photos of New York and the Statue of Liberty.
"I don't know anyone, personally, who has even gotten a portfolio request from a potential client, much less made a dollar from the Web," Pobereskin said. "I'm not saying it's impossible, just that I don't know anyone."
But that doesn't mean it won't happen someday, said Pobereskin, who believes that faster connections will attract a bigger audience.
"I'm not pitching to batters right now; I'm warming up," he said. "I'm still in the bullpen, getting up to speed. When the batter steps into the box, I want to be ready. All that aside, in the case of the Internet, the audience has to find the artist, not vice versa. There's an awful lot of content out there, and the audience has to be able to spot you. It's very much like 'Where's Waldo.' "
Still, he said, the experience has been interesting. He had an inquiry from a class of high school kids in Iowa researching the Statue of Liberty, and another from an immigration lawyer who informed him that he was "borrowing" a photo for his own Web site, asserting that copyright law didn't cover Internet publications.
"I called him on the phone to teach him about copyright law," Pobereskin said. "He obviously slept through that class."
The Professional Photographers of Greater New York offers resources for wedding, portrait and commercial shooters.
There are hundreds of photography sites on the Web, and many in New York. A company called N.Y. Gold offers photographers the chance to appear in a glossy virtual catalogue of work (in addition to the print edition). The Professional Photographers of Greater New York offers resources for wedding, portrait and commercial shooters. The Camera Club of New York is aimed at amateurs and some professionals, while the National Press Photographers Association is a virtual gathering spot for lens people with press cards hanging on chains around their necks. The massive Global Photographers Search offers access to more than 5,000 photographers. All the sites publish examples of their members' best work.
Other photographers gain Web exposure from larger sites that highlight their work. On the Blue Dot, an experimental publishing site maintained by the Silicon Alley development company Razorfish, local photographers get star treatment.
"Good photography tells a story, conveys a message," said Craig Kanarick, a Razorfish partner. "On the Web, there are so many large graphics that don't do anything, that it is nice to find a photograph that can really cause an emotional reaction."
This month, Blue Dot is showing the work of Danny Clinch, a New York photographer known for his portraits of well known musical artists. His virtual exhibit at Razorfish includes shots of Eddie Vedder, Heavy D, Cypress Hill, Iggy Pop -- and the guys from Razorfish, Kanarick and his partner, Jeff Dachis. It's the photographer's attempt to fashion Web stardom for his digital patrons, and its a homage to the growing importance among the art crowd of cyber-entrepreneurs.
Tibetan monks, photographed by Danny Clinch. Clinch's work is featured on the Blue Dot, an experimental publishing site maintained by the Silicon Alley development company Razorfish.
Dachis, who has also shown the work of Jill Greenberg, Spencer Tunick, and James Worrell, said, "I think we are trying to find opportunities to display photographic work outside of a traditional slide show environment, and that is a challenge."
He notes that photos aren't quite the same online: "Some people might argue that the tactile elements of photography aren't represented." Photographers agree -- pictures can be slow to load, and unless translated to the digital realm without massive byte-crunching, far from crystal clear. Ah, but the audience -- that's why there are so many photographers online.
DIGITAL METROPOLIS is published weekly, on Mondays. Click here for a list of links to other columns in the series.
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Jason Chervokas & Tom Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org welcome your comments and suggestions. They also invite you to visit the Web home of their @NY newsletter
- Joseph Pobereskin
- Global Photographers Search
- Camera Club of New York
- National Press Photographers Association
- Blue Dot
- Professional Photographers of Greater New York
- N.Y. Gold
Copyright 1996 The New York Times Company