Category Archives: Weblogs

Young Photographer Breaks the Rules, Finds Success

The New York Times writes about photographer Ted Selby, who is making a name for himself by profiling “cool” people and their personal spaces on his blog theselby.com.

Despite getting work for magazines like Spin and Dazed & Confused, his success was middling. He wanted to do a more personal project; he just wasn’t sure what.

“Usually professional photographers will have a show at a gallery in Chelsea,” he said, “or a photo book from a small art press. That was the traditional way to do it.”

Instead, he took advice from his friend Mark Hunter, who runs thecobrasnake.com, the wildly successful behind-the-scenes party blog.

“I pride myself on marketing,” Mr. Hunter said, “and knowing how to reach an audience and build a following. What I thought would be great for Todd was to create something people would want to share.”

On the Internet, he told his friend, you don’t have to be as selective as at a magazine. Share 20 images instead of one. Break the rules.

Within two months, the site had become so popular that Mr. Selby made it the center of his professional life.

“This is something photographers haven’t caught up to yet,” he said. “When I started in 2001, it was very clear. You start working for magazines, work your way up to the best magazines, the art buyers and art directors see those great magazines and hire you to shoot an ad campaign. Now it’s a totally different game. People who are making decisions about ad campaigns aren’t looking at magazines for inspiration. They’re looking at the Internet.”

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents

Reporters Without Borders has released a Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents.

Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they’re tremendous tools of freedom of expression.
Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest. Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help them, with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.

(Thanks to Anikó Bartos for the heads up.)

Taiwanese American Heritage Week

This week is Taiwanese American Heritage Week. My friend Welly Yang, the artistic director of theater company Second Generation, once told Newsweek what being "Taiwanese American" meant to him.

I wanted [to premiere the musical version of The Wedding Banquet] in Taiwan […]. The story is about a Taiwanese-American in New York. Ang Lee is Taiwanese. Although I was born in this country, my parents are from Taiwan. Taiwan has always been the underdog in the world. They were occupied by Portuguese, Japanese, Dutch. China won’t let them become a member of the United Nations. There are missile threats every other day. I guess I wanted to raise Taiwan’s status. Something in my American side makes me root for the underdog.

Taiwanese American Heritage Week

This week is Taiwanese American Heritage Week. My friend Welly Yang, the artistic director of theater company Second Generation, once told Newsweek what being "Taiwanese American" meant to him.

I wanted [to premiere the musical version of The Wedding Banquet] in Taiwan […]. The story is about a Taiwanese-American in New York. Ang Lee is Taiwanese. Although I was born in this country, my parents are from Taiwan. Taiwan has always been the underdog in the world. They were occupied by Portuguese, Japanese, Dutch. China won’t let them become a member of the United Nations. There are missile threats every other day. I guess I wanted to raise Taiwan’s status. Something in my American side makes me root for the underdog.

The Insularity of American Bloggers

Rebecca MacKinnon of Global Voices wonders why "the American blogosphere actually talks about less of the world than the mainstream media does."

Why don’t American bloggers link very much to bloggers around the world? People in the room suggested there are 2 main reasons: One reason is that they don’t know where to find the good blogs from other countries – unless Instapundit or somebody has linked to them. Another reason is that people don’t have enough context or knowledge about events going on in foreign countries to blog about them.

Rebecca proposes one solution.

The Global Voices project, with our Index and Aggregator, is trying to provide a solution to the first problem. The other problem has to do with lack of context. How do you get people linking to fascinating posts on Armenian or Bahraini blogs when they have no context about the situations in Armenia and Bahrain? This is more difficult and there are no clear solutions. One idea that came up in the session would be for bloggers who blog for global audiences to provide links on their sites where people can go for more information about their country – and recent news about their country. The GV wiki should probably do a better job in providing links to reliable contextual information.

Some months ago, I similarly asked "why linguistic and cultural barriers exist around still imagery, when" [it seems] it would be a more easily translatable medium."  (See "Translating Photography," Parts I, II and III.) Maybe it is time for an art-related, global voices project too?

Blogger Interviews

Toronto-based writer Melanie McBride has been interviewing bloggers for her blog Chandrasutra. (Mentioned by Joerg Colberg at photography blog Conscientious.)

On a separate note, my blog Eight Diagrams is newly listed on Yahoo!

Capturing Asia: Asian Blogs

My article about Asian blogs is on SFGate, the online supplement of The San Francisco Chronicle: "But can something this egocentric represent a region?"

Peter Fong has an article in The Chronicle about travel to Taiwan: "Forging New Ties in Taipei." Ilana DeBare writes about "The Business of Blogging:  Small Companies Promote Themselves through Web Logs."

Technorati Tag(s): and .

Literary Blogs, Their Online Niche

Zoetrope friend Laila Lalami is mentioned in a USA Today (2/16) piece about literary blogs.

The explosion of blogging among book lovers
corresponds with a general rise in the use of blogs among the computer
literate. A recent study by the Pew Foundation finds that 8 million
people have created blogs, a 58% jump in the past year, and about 25%
of all Internet users read them.
The online book media have grown so much that Publishers Weekly,
the book industry’s primary trade magazine, recently replaced its
editor in chief of 12 years, citing the need to revamp the magazine in
light of such competition and to tap into the public’s interest in
reading about books online.

What many blogs do better than the conventional print media is offer a sense of the global literary culture by providing links to foreign book coverage.

Writer’s Clog

My friend Daphne Buter (who is ridiculously talented both as a writer and graphic artist) has a new blog,  Daphne Buter’s Writer’s Clog. It seems like it is going to be quirky, like the "bios of the day" she writes on Zoetrope. ( I have been bugging her to collect some of them and publish them as a book. Join me in bugging her.)

Smartest Guys in the Room

BloggingSundance reviews a new documentary about the Enron debacle that is showing at the Sundance Film Festival. "

When documentary film, blogs, and journalism are done well, they assist the audience in the search for truth."