I am currently working on a bit of a revamp of my portfolio website and have taken a bit of a different approach from many other sites out there.
You see, in the past I would have various galleries with only a few images per section – anything between 12 and 20 – and that was that. Yes, I most definitely see the value in having a small, collection of fantastic images which shows off your best work. It focuses the viewer’s attention on your very best work and creates a ‘brand’ for yourself.
But what about the other images? What about the images that are pretty good but not very good? The ones that just did not make the cut?
What if you have two images that are both very similar but both pretty decent?
Should only one make the final cut and be shared?
I’ve decided that I’m not going the route of only showing a small collection of images.
Just doesn’t make sense to me.
Photography is an art which by definition means creating something, sharing something, so why would then be selective about what you share?
Why create something and then not share it? Why, in our case, leave it on a hard drive somewhere in a directory called portfolio?
As wildlife photographers we shoot thousands upon thousands of frames every year. Surely there has got to be more than just 12, or even 20, images per whatever category you choose?
Why put only a small collection of your images on your personal website, where they are displayed properly and look good, but share a huge amount of images to Facebook and other platforms which normally do not do them any justice?
So then the question around signature images, or personal brand might come up – probably the reason why so many websites only include a small selection of images – but can you not include more images and then have a gallery or selection of your personal favourites which defines your style and that you can use as your working portfolio?
To me this working portfolio should be dynamic in that you always reassess it, changing images and updating it to reflect your best work. This is also the role, as I see it, of the a personal favourite gallery on your website. Surely you cannot just, like some people do, keep on adding favourite images and end up with a collection of 100 favourites? This is especially true when you want to use this collection as your working portfolio.
Moving forward, and I will share the new site soon so you can follow along as I update it with new images, I will be posting a lot of images from each trip and destination I visit. Why shoot 5,000 images in the Mara, whittle them down to 200 and only share 12?
This will not include doubles, too many sequences or obvious bad images but other than that I will be posting all my images.
That is, as far as I am concerned, what art and photography is about!
Yes, I will obviously have a few collections and a personal favourites gallery which I will continually reassess in order to keep a working portfolio but other than that I will be posting everything to my site which is just going to be a portfolio site. No blogs (because that happens on this page), no text or any funny widgets – just all my images!
It’s very exciting and over the weekend I will be making the new site live, even though I have only loaded images up until mid-2012 on there, and will then share on the blog and Facebook page each time I finish processing and load a new batch of images.
Remember, photography is art and art is about sharing!
Until next time.
Gerry van der Walt
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