On the Web, a picture's worth ... well, you know

On Blogs

October 02, 2005|By TROY MCCULLOUGH | TROY MCCULLOUGH,SUN REPORTER

Who needs words, anyway? For thousands of people online, it's the photographs that make the Web. The Internet is overflowing with stunning displays, unique projects and pictorial insights. All you have to do is look.

Photo blogs and photography-based Web sites have provided amateur photographers a means to project their pictures to the world. And - like everything on the Internet - the quality and style of these online photo projects vary widely. The worst are akin to sitting through a neighbor's slide show of vacation snapshots from Branson, Mo. But the best rival exhibits found in real-world art galleries.

At the artistic end of the spectrum, one of the best and most popular photo blogs is "Chromasia" (chromasia.com), run by photo enthusiast David J. Nightingale. Nightingale's daily photos of spare, moody scenes from around his coastal home of Blackpool, England, have found an enthusiastic following online.

Another site with a well-deserved following is "A Walk through Durham Township, Pennsylvania" (durhamtownship.com), run by Kathleen Connally. Connally's photographs serve as a virtual tour of the immensely beautiful rural vistas of her eastern Pennsylvania home.

Travis Ruse prefers urban chaos over small-town serenity. His site, "Express Train"(travisruse.com), displays photos of his daily subway commute from Park Slope, Brooklyn, to Midtown Manhattan. And as anybody who's ever used mass transit in New York can attest to, you never know what's going to appear next.

Valerie J. Cochran also focuses on urban chaos - but from a West Coast perspective. Her site, "Your Waitress Photos" (yourwaitress.com), captures vibrant and unpredictable street scenes from the Berkeley, Ca., area.

Baltimore, too, has its share of photo bloggers. "Eeshots"(eeshots.baltiblogs.com), by blogger Eebmore (eebmore.baltiblogs.com), posts shots of the rich subject matter this city has to offer. And "Luminous Lens" (luminouslens.baltiblogs.com), run by Johns Hopkins graduate student Tamara Nicol, posts photos from Baltimore and elsewhere.

Not all Web-based photo projects take themselves so seriously. Enter "Cats in Sinks" (catsinsinks.com). All of the submitted photos here are of cats sitting in sinks - nothing more, nothing less. You'll have to go see for yourself why the site is so addictive and fun.

"Watch Me Turn 30" (watchmeturn30.com) is the daily photographic diaryof a 29-year-old New York woman who identifies herself as Amy M. The project, in its second incarnation, originated with New Yorker Holly P. (watchmeturn30.com/holly), who passed the site along after the inevitable birthday arrived.

"The Anti-Sit Archives"(usemenow.com/web-log/archives/the_antisit) is a photo blog with a conscience of sorts. It uses photos to highlight urban spaces - such as building ledges, storm grates, railings and hydrants - that have been retrofitted with metal spikes and bars in an apparent attempt to dissuade loitering by the homeless.

It's impossible to talk about online photography sites without mentioning "Flickr" (flickr.com), the Web's most extensive photo storage and sharing network. The ability to store photographs online is a wonderful asset, but it's the group interaction that makes Flickr great.

Two examples of how photographers are collaborating: Flickr's "Hurricane Katrina" pool (flickr.com/groups/45871688@N00) has nearly 2,000 photos from almost 400 members offering a broad glimpse into the devastation by people who lived through it. And the "What's In Your Bag" pool (flickr.com/groups/52241283780@N01) has 800 enthusiastic members sharing photos of the contents of their courier bags, backpacks and purses.

Finally, today I'll leave you with one last site. "Unphotographable" (unphotographable.com) is an occasionally updated text account of missed opportunities and pictures that were never taken - a photo blog without a single photo.

Maybe we need words after all.

troy.mccullough@baltsun.com

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