This post is for the other photographers – in particular, those in business.
I have had this blog post half written for more than 6 months and could never pull the trigger on the publish button. The topic felt too specific for a generalized statement and because of that, something didn’t feel right to justify a blog post rant. However after an interesting discussion tonight with onOne‘s education manager Brian Matiash, it gave me that needed incentive to complete this post because I’m not the only person who judges ones brand partly based on presentation. There are companies like Brian’s and surely future clients browsing portfolios also judging you on how much consideration was applied to the website.
But first, lets be honest. Everyone is hopefully more critical and focused on the details when it comes to our own industry. Chefs with food, contractors with houses, doctors with health, etc, etc, and designers like myself with websites. We are all trained to care about different things and rely on others to fill in where we choose to focus less attention.
Two summers ago, I had a small presentation at a PPOC (Professional Photographers of Canada) seminar on web technologies to discuss the elements of a reliable website. Although much has improved since then — there is still more work to be done. Poorly implemented websites are still common and with all the photographers in the world so focused on perfecting their images, they often settle for presenting them in a substandard way.
So in a world where art, design and images are so very much subjective, here are some details to consider:
In early March 2011, Humanitarian Photographer Jeffrey Chapman sent out a simple tweet asking for help for a very small non profit group in Thailand called AmFree. A project by Jaime Yeretzian. While I could try and describe her story – my original email from Jeffrey does a much better job:
The organization is called AmFree Karen. It’s run by an American girl, Jaime, who lives in an orphanage in the middle of nowhere on the border of Thailand in order to be close to the women who work on the project. (The women are in a village near the orphanage but not part of the orphanage.) Basically she has taught them to knit. They’re making wool ski hats. They’re very nice hats, and the women involved in the project have a blast when they meet for their knitting circles. I had a great time with them.
Jaime has a website (http://www.amfreekaren.com/), but it could be a lot better. She’s done an amazing job at teaching these women to knit and is currently selling the hats at a single ski shop in Utah. If she could expand the market, then she could train a lot more women, including those in the nearby Mae La refugee camp. Women in that camp have virtually nothing to do as they wait for resettlement, which can take more than a decade. This issue is particularly close to me as I do a lot of work locally with Karen refugees who are being resettled in the US. So I’m kind of attracted to this project because it helps a group that I’m already personally invested in helping but also because it’s well-organized, well-run and is providing a real and viable opportunity to women in need.
Let me know if it sounds interesting to you.
I enjoy Jeffrey’s work and responded by offering to answer questions to help get things started. While Jeffrey is so kindly giving me more credit then I feel I deserve, it’s important that this site was the work and creation of Jaime. The website has been running for about two months now using e-junkie as the payment/product manager on top of the very easy to use Weebly wysiwyg platform. The two in combination allows for fairly easy maintenance with no fees or html experience.
I wish Jaime much success.