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Friday, January 05, 2007

13 Photographs and You're Gone

Lately I've been trying to learn a little more about blogs and how to optimize income from them (Rule #1, "Be someone other than me"), and one thing I constantly do wrong is to send people away from here to read something else someplace else on the web, something so interesting and so rich in tempting links that they never come back.

You know what they say: Oh, well.

Here I go again. I love reading brief little essays about single pictures—I keep threatening to do a book of 'em, but my day job as a ditch digger keeps me from intellectual pursuits. Anyway, the best example of this I've come across recently is a little blogentry called "13 Photographs That Changed the World" on Neatorama. It was pointed out to me by Todd G. in a comment. Thanks, Todd G. The byline states:

"The article...was written by Ransom Riggs for the Jan.–Feb. 2007 issue of mental_floss magazine, featured on Neatorama in partnership with mental_floss." I realize once you go to Neatorama/Mental Floss you will never come back; I've just lost you as a reader. 'Bye. Forget me not....



Blogger Robert Roaldi said...

I came back.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Yeah, but you and I are it, Robert.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

I spent SO MUCH time over there, happpily flitting from link to link. I can't believe I wasted that much time I didn't have to spend. Neatorama indeed.


8:33 PM  
Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

Nah, I'm back, too. Interesting site and list. But several myths-passed-as-facts in the descriptive commentary told me it's just a typical "blog". Too many ads, too. Looking at one of those pages was like trying to read a novel printed on a Nascar ride. Way beyond my ever-thinning tolerance for tack.

This is about the only "blog" I look at regularly. Much more fun to watch Mike having profitable fun with his new printer!

10:40 PM  
Blogger Max said...

Thirteen glorious pictures (Dali's is awesome), but I'd like to point something I read lately. About the Hindenburg disaster, the article points other less "photogenic" examples, like the Chernobyl reactor disaster. I recommend reading this article at the BBC site.
It's about a russian photographer that worked at the plant and had the job to document the damage. The picture of the reactor was edited for the media, but an original is shown by the man in the article.
Quote: "Later they showed one of the pictures taken from above, but they touched it up so that the ray of light emanating like a burning sun from the reactor, along with the smoke, ash and other flakes of material, was not visible."
That must have been something out of this world, from what little you can see of the few pics that were not blackened out by radiation.
Hanging out by the legs from a helicopter over a melting reactor...

10:48 PM  
Blogger stephen best said...

Why not just make the links open in a new window?

4:13 AM  
Blogger MJFerron said...

Hey Mike your links to other sitea are part of the appeal here. Don't change. What's missing in that group of photos is that shot of those poor kids in Vietnam burned by napalm. Has to be the most moving photo ever.

7:47 AM  
Blogger dalecook said...

I came back as well. But, not after spending (versus wasting) a ridiculous amount of time meandering through the site. Thanks...I think?

7:59 AM  
Blogger Player said...

I'm still over there, I think. ;)

Seriously Mike, I know a lot of people here, as myself, have been reading you for many years, way before this blog even existed. You feel like an old friend I've known for many years, even though, ironically, to you, I'm sure I'm just another reader of your blog, but the point is I'll always enjoy reading just about anything you write, so you're pretty much stuck with me. ;)

9:46 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Yeah, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said "wasting" time. I SPENT time, happily and voluntarily....

It's just that I didn't have the time at the time....


10:50 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Gosh, thanks, Player! I was really just trying to be funny. I had a setback with another venture I'm working on yesterday and was feeling like someone had died. But it had nothing to do with this blog or my LOYAL readers! :-)

Actually I have more, and better, readers than I deserve. I'm thankful, believe me. I have zero complaints.


10:54 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Actually about all I did was to read through the comments thread and mentally compose a defense of Albert Einstein's contributions to quantum mechanics. See, one of the commenters dismissed them, and Einstein's 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect was very influential in the development of quantum mechanics. He had some problems with the theory later, but that doesn't mean he didn't contribute to it...

...and what was when I knew I had to leave. It's way to easy to get sucked into some stupid comment thread. Not that, uh, this one is. Ahem.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Mike, in the long run and in the big picture, you don't lose readership when you post cool links. In the long run you *gain* readership from providing cool links.

Sure, in the short term the eye balls wonder away. But the next day they come back saying "I wonder what Mike found for me today?"

10:46 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Did Matthew Brady really take that picture? I seem to remember that they were all made by his "assistants".

10:26 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"Did Matthew Brady really take that picture?"

That one was probably taken by Timothy O'Sullivan. Brady employed a number of shooters and "camera operators" who did the portraits in the studios. About the only pictures he would have actually taken himself would have been the portraits of luminaries and customers with social importance--he almost certainly did most of his portraits of Lincoln himself, for instance. Portrait sitters walking in off the street would have been photographed by an assistant.

Scholars have by this time pretty well attributed all the pictures taken in the field during the Civil War to the actual shooters. However, some still believe that Brady should get credit, because he bankrolled the documentary project that kept all those shooters in the field--and bankrupted himself in the process.

Your public library might have a copy of a nice little 1994 book called "Matthew Brady: His Life and Photographs" by George Sullivan. It was written for young adults but it's a nice introduction to Brady--well written, and Sullivan is an excellent researcher and very trustworthy. And it's short, which, depending on your tastes in biographies, may be a good thing (personally, there are too many people I want to know about to read 800-page biographies of everyone I'm interested in, so short bios are a good thing to me).


3:11 PM  
Blogger razorblack said...

[sound of crickets chirping]


2:45 PM  

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