Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pyramid scheme

Like some modern-day Linnaeus, DLK has attacked the chore of categorizing art blogs, and I think the results are pretty fascinating. DLK graphs various blogs by their how much they COMMENT, CURATE, or PROMOTE. The divisions may be simplistic yet they are surprisingly useful. Since reading the essay I've found myself examining my regular rounds of photoblogs in a new light, mentally assigning them to X or Y category. Here is DLK's chart.

One thing that seems missing from DLK's triangle is the diarist nature of some blogs. DLK would probably group this under the PROMOTE corner of its triangle, but to me it seems different. Writing about one's daily life isn't the same as putting your photos out there to promote sales. It seems to come more from an internal need and less to satisfy some exterior goal.

To encompass this personal aspect, I'd expand the DLK triangle into a tetrahedron with a REFLECT axis to show personal narrative.

The photoblogs I enjoy most are the ones toward the top of this pyramid, or at least raised up some from its base. 5b4 for example would be much less interesting if it weren't written from a first person perspective. It would be more of an academic study. Peter Kearns' blog is a perfect example of one which is interesting almost solely due to its personal nature. It doesn't have many photos or outside links, but he has a wonderful way of writing about his inner creative life. The counter-example is a blog like Flak Photo, which I'd find more appealing if it veered ever so slightly away from curation to reveal something, anything, about Andy Adams. I know he has good taste in photos but who is he? What makes him tick?

Every blog has a different balance and there is no one right recipe. I try to have a mix of all four in B, although perhaps leaning away from the PROMOTE corner. There, with that last sentence I've now put this post right in the center of the tetrahedron.


Liz Kuball said...

I like your idea. DLK's post was interesting, but I didn't see where I fit on that triangle. Although I occasionally comment, curate, and promote, probably 90 to 95 percent of what I do is reflect, and your addition made room for that. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Interesting ideas, original new content is the main thing that seems to be missing from most blogs and of course new original content is the hardest thing to generate.

I don't know who or what DLK is though?

Blake Andrews said...

I don't know what DLK is either. I think it's a collector's collective although I don't know who or how many are in it. But it does generate a fairly good stream of original content.

I think the reason I like blogs that REFLECT is that any diary entry is original content. We've all seen and commented on many of the same photos out there, so by the third or fourth blog to comment it can seem too familiar. Personal thoughts and anecdotes are often quite original in comparison.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Reflect was definitely missing...

Some of my absolute favorite photography blogs are ones in which the blogger talks about the meaning of photography in their lives, or of specific photographs.

Alec Soth's old blog was one of the best examples of that type of blog.

I suppose my ideal blog would be in the comment/refect/curate face of the tetra...

Blake Andrews said...

How's this for a Meta-comment.

Since my original post, which was a reaction to DLK's, there's been a flurry of other comments on this topic on Concientious, Mrs. Deane, and a newly revised chart on DLK. So now, and with the Gearon post, it seems my post has become what I found least interesting in the blog world, just another comment in a stream of opinions on the same recycled topics. I'll try from now on to write on topics that have absolutely no chance of being covered elsewhere.