Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the microsite (also adorably known as the weblet). There are a number of photographers creating successful microsite’s as of late. What is the purpose of the microsite? Is it another promo tool, creative outlet or trend of the second?
I asked Finn O’Hara about his reasons for creating the site A Moment Before.
“When it came to showing the series online, I really wanted the user to be able to see the images full scale, no matter what size monitor they were viewing them on. However, when I was ready to launch it, my portfolio site wasn’t set up to accommodate such large images, so the separate site idea was initially born out of necessity. That ended up being a good thing, because it allowed me not only to accommodate the large images, but to also demonstrate my new aesthetic direction, independent from my main site, and not have them overwhelm my existing work (which was quite different at the time). “
I think Finn made a smart move with launching an independant site that showcases a new direction for his work. I’ve worked with Finn over the last few years and had hired him for the style he had worked on creating. Even if he were to only add the new series to his portfolio it would not have held the same weight that it does on its own independant site. It’s hard for a photographer to change visual direction and I think this was a simple and bold way of transitioning. It was like a coming out party. I really understood that Finn was shaking off the old and moving forward with a new identity.
I asked Myles about his thoughts on the microsite:
“I also like them, as to me they are like web books. I see your work on your site – edit or commercial and often personal – but this is telling me you are doing more. You had an idea, you planned it out, produced it, designed a whole new site around it and executed the marketing as well – which is a helluva lot more than just updating a website.”
Heather made a good point as well:
“Microsites also provides the opportunity to present and sell yourself in a slightly different way. Sort of like: “You know I do this (regular site), but I also really like to do this (microsite)”. The work on the microsite can seem extra special, almost like a hidden gem- behind the curtain.”
An additional site can allow you more freedom than a portfolio that’s created to show your range, style, client list, etc. I saw the website of Brooks Reynolds and then I saw We Are Sleeping Giants. My perception of Brooks work was positive but not outstanding. The work was safe and pleasant and his site did all the things it’s supposed to do but I couldn’t find the hook. But We Are Sleeping Giants was that hook. As Heather mentioned – it’s this little hidden gem that has personality, emotion and is so specific that it might not be all you’d want to show if that was your only portfolio. But it was the clincher for me. I now can envision the type of job that would suit a photographer like Brooks as opposed to the type of job Brooks can do. A photographer’s site has to tell me what your capabilities are but they don’t always say what jobs you loved and what jobs you hated (even though the shot turned out okay). But as a Photo Editor – I’m always looking to match a photographer to a job that they can approach with real passion and interest. And that’s where the microsite does its job.
The microsite seems to have a potential for a wider audience for photographers. I’ve been sent links to The Selby and Days With My Father by people who came to them without the knowledge of who Todd Selby or Phil Toledano were. Their work lives on these separate sites with its own entire identity. I like the idea that people are viewing these microsites as wonderful bodies of work unencumbered by the identity of the photographer. Todd Selby might be the most successful with his alter-ego/microsite. I’m sure by now Todd Selby’s website stands in the shadows of The Selby.com.
All the new alternative outlets for creativity and promotion online are moving quickly and it’s a great time to jump in to the mix. It doesn’t cost much but innovation is needed to get noticed (if that’s what you’re looking for).
This also leads to the Blogosphere. Is there pressure for a photographer now to have a blog? I had intended on commenting more about photoblogs but I’m going to save it for another day or days and days and days…..