Months ago I asked the OTP community about their online reading habits. I mentioned my favourite blogs and briefly discussed my main concern which is: is online reading just a filler, sort of reading your twitter feed when you're bored1?

Anyway, my idea is that yes, books give you something else, something that takes you away for longer times, requiring a committment to the act of reading and comprehension that is essential if you really want to go deep into a subject.

But the blogs I read are also useful and fun and clever and insightful; in other words, I love "my" bloggers (how bad this word sounds to me now that I spell it out; I'd love to simply call them "writers" -- and for a short list of them see below).

All of this to say that I have found another one brilliant writer, and I'm simply astounded he doesn't have more recognition or traction.

Joerg Colberg is the man. He maintains and writes this wonderful blog, Conscientious Photography Magazine, and apparently he's been doing this for 12 years! So there's this incredible archive of clever, well written reviews and opinion pieces and everything else on photography.

Now, just to give you an idea on how brilliant Mr Colberg really is, there is a piece On Process that people like Jefferey Saddoris (one of the two OTP hosts) would get a kick out of it.

And I am not gonna do any synopsis since it would be a waste of time -- plus he writes so much better than me. But there is a passage that I liked a lot:

The fact that you’re lugging around an 8x10 camera or that you photographing your computer screen is pretty much irrelevant for the evaluation of your work. Unless, of course, we want to treat photography like a craft. But I don’t think that’s so interesting".

Another interesting piece that got me very excited is "Photography after photography", because it's all about answering the question "where do we go from here"? I mean, do we still hang tight to the conventions established by the masters? Is really photography stagnating?

This is so interesting to me even though I may be so boringly classical in my compositions and photography; this piece was (and still is!) like a corkscrew that opened my head and instilled some ideas that I'd like to go and test them out.

Again a small excerpt (hoping that Mr. Colberg doesn't mind):

Photography has finally arrived at its own existential crisis. I[t is far from being over - no medium is ever over as long as there is just an ounce of creativity left on this planet. [...] But photography has long been running in a circle. Over the past ten years, it has increasingly become dominated by nostalgia and conservatism. Even the idea that we now need editors or curators to create meaning out of the flood of photographs ultimately is conservative, looking backwards when we could, no we should be looking forward.

Ironically, it is digital photography that has resulted in the current stasis of the medium. Given the possibilities, it is quite amazing to see how little digital photography has qualitatively changed photography. Quantitatively, oh sure. The number of photographs taken has exploded, especially since there are now cameras in places where there weren’t any before

addendum: my favourite photography blogs, circa 2014

To this day, my favourite blogs are still largely the same I was reading two years ago -- which is incredible in internet shelf-life terms. It is also reassuring to follow people who are truly passionate in what they do and are not obsessed with today's mantra (monetization!) so that years on they still produce vivid and interesting pieces to read.

Anyway, this is my short photo-related bookmark list (in no particular order):

  • Patrick Laroque, (love his style and the quirky and sometimes very poetic write ups; also very knowledgeable in all technical aspects)
  • Rob Boyer, (I like his technical insights, his wonderfully funny rants against fuji, nikon, whatever, and the thing is that I like his blog even if I'm not really interested in photographing models which is all he does apparently)
  • Ming Thein, (I would like NOT to like his blog, because he's too knowledgeable, confident and successful for for my taste, plus he's only 28! -- but what he brings to the table is honesty and integrity and an incredibly professional attitude towards maintaing the blog with frequent updates).
  • Gregory Simpson, (he is just the kind of writer that I wish I was, truly doing his stuff with seemingly no care about what the current rend is -- and I love it).
  • Mike Johnston, (he has probably the most competent community commenting his articles. I dont care too much for his football insights or other stuff like that, but I find a lot of good information in there, just a shame that his blog is so outdated graphically).
  • Joerg Colberg, (read above).

  1. I like to equate the act of scrolling down one's facebook or twitter updates with passively watching tv. I think the first is the modern day's equivalent of the latter -- and to be completely honest I have to say that many many times I have induldged in the brainless and compulsive checking of the damned feeds. That is why I gave up on Facebook years ago, I will do the same with linkedin soon -- and twitter so far remains the only connection that I have with anything "social".