It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the big picture sites that have popped up recently. The Boston Globe’s “Big Picture” and the Wall Street Journal’s “Photo Journal” are the best things to come along for publishing photography since sliced bread (you know about the toast printer, don’t you?).
Now, I’m even more excited because these sites, which have been publishing mostly wire agency cruft (Big Picture generally picks a theme for each post, while Photo Journal is like an easier to navigate, better designed MSNBC’s Week in Pictures), have started to publish original photography from individual photographers. Photo Journal started first with Thomas Dworzak’s work in Georgia, and then followed up with Jake Price‘s work on Iraq’s humanitarian crisis (black and white!), and Christophe Agou‘s take on daily life around Wall Street. The Big Picture started with Jason Hawkes‘ “London from above, at night,” had a selection of various photographers’ work to observe Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (Kendrick Brinson describes how her pictures got there), and just today published a selection of Yann Arthus-Bertrand‘s “Earth from Above” exhibit. These posts have generated tremendous interest from the public; the Childhood Cancer post has over 1000 comments, for instance. And in a recent post at the Big Picture, Alan Taylor describes the staggering logistics of serving up such a site (Numerous days with a million unique visits! 5 terabytes of bandwidth transfer in a single day! Yowza!). There’s a bitter note in the middle of all this good, though. Big Picture’s FAQ still says that they have no budget for pictures (see the “Will you make an entry with my photos?” question) and, as such, cannot pay contributors. My belief, though, is that Alan Taylor’s got his heart in the right place–the site itself is a tremendous step towards a revitalization of photography on the internet–and is working toward a budget for original photography. I can’t wait!
(p.s. long picture to the right made with browsershots.org, an invaluable web design tool)