Websites: thinking about curation, spectacle and discourse


The recent reading I’ve been doing on the subject of curation has, along with the on-going curation of my book, motivated me to have a look at my general online presence. I use Facebook, Flickr and this blog in very different ways to my two websites and as soon as I began thinking about these things I got sucked in to reviewing and altering my two sites. The results are shown here.


Why two sites? Spectacle and discourse.
The reason I developed two websites was because of the way I read images. There are pictures that rely on their form to please and I think of these in terms of their spectacle. They work as pictures but don’t connote much. They please the eye.

Then there are other images, often series of images, that work very differently. These do not necessarily please the eye, rather they convey deeper, thought provoking ideas. Chris Killip’s work comes to mind as a good example. His images are often of mundane daily life but, when curated and presented, offer the viewer real insights into the life under the lens.

Of course many good photographers create images that work as both spectacle and discourse and so can be enjoyed as pictures or as visual essays on a subject. A great example of this approach is Edward Burtynsky and his work documenting the Oil industry – see here

However, I think there a well documented danger in such an approach as the beauty of the picture’s form can remove any punctum.  Anyway, that’s the reason I created two websites: one for form and spectacle and the other to offer visual essays. I have given them similar themes in this review as it seems to me that they are two sides of the same coin.

Thinking about the MA work
When I saw the details of this MA and saw that included the requirement to blog I began to explore and experiment with blogging. I am glad I did as this has opened up a whole new avenue to me. Blogging seems quite different to having a website. The former seems naturally dynamic and time sensitive whereas the latter seems static and more reflective. I don’t think I knew this when I began the MA but at some point I realised that I needed to separate out and summarise the interim findings of my research and experimentation , otherwise they would be lost in the depths of the blog and only accessible if the visitor knew the correct category of tag to apply. So that’s how I came to create this blog and later develop the website.

My MA Blogimage

My MA websiteimage

Viewers can see that I have tried link them aesthetically as well as functionally and am content with this …… so far.

What is next?
As I have moved into this faze of curation and the production of final images I am going to have to review and adjust how I present the work. Do I want to end up with one giant website that included both spectacle and discourse, process and product? I think not. But how I structure and present my final completed MA work online is beginning to tax me. 


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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