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|| News Item: Posted 2009-09-14

One of Today's Great Questions: Why Blog?
Jim McNay looked for the answer.

By Jim McNay

Photo by
Working to get a handle on this blog thing.

So I asked: Do my photographer friends blog? And if so, why?

People were very generous with their responses. A lot of material came back to me—w-a-y too much to cram into one article. So I'll break it down and write about it in several smaller bits.

First up: There are several photographers out there who don’t blog, won’t blog, hate blogs. Let’s start with the Antis.

The Los Angeles Times Don Bartletti says, "Blog? I'd prefer my gossip and gee-wiz experiences painted on cave walls like the good 'ol days." He adds, however, that he has checked out, adding, "I am very pleased at the passion these young people have for photojournalism."

Teresa Hurteau Douglass, formerly with the Visalia Times-Delta, expressed the sentiments of many who find the whole blogging thing just a bit dreary. She says, "I do not blog and I do not read blogs. When the Visalia Times-Delta editors started blogging I was bored to tears with the few blogs I read. I prefer good journalism to blogging."

While he still works as a newspaper still photographer, the Bloomington, IN Herald-Times’ Jeremy Hogan doesn’t read photography blogs. This is mostly because in his off-time he is involved in video documentary projects, often dealing with veterans and the Vietnam war. His choice is paying off for him given his recent experience.

"Perhaps I’m in the minority," says Hogan, "but I also read these things called books. I have a stack of them right now I’m trying to read to educate myself about the ins and outs of the Vietnam War for this documentary project I’m working on. Such reading of old technology materials is why I didn’t sound like an idiot when I interviewed a survivor of a famous battle during the Vietnam War."

Former picture editor Bryan Moss ( tried a blog for a while, but found he liked the photographs he was making better. "In the blog, when it existed, I more than once noted that the photographs on the site were what I had to say, and a blog was at best redundant," says Moss. He adds, "I'm not interested in reading about photography. It's verbiage about a non-verbal discipline." Recognizing the irony of being the author of a book on photography, Moss says, "I guess in some ways, I've said all I feel compelled to say about photography. Now I'd rather just do it."

A slightly more hard-edged view comes from LA-based Davis Barber. "Personally, I doubt most people give a rat’s ass what I have to say. I know I don’t care for most blogs. Mental masturbation for the self-indulged is the best way I’d describe blogs."

Ironically, after all that, Barber does have a blog—because he works with a marketing manager who says it is a good idea—and he listens to his manager’s coaching. "Within a well planned marketing campaign it has a place," says Barber. His blog:

And whether they like it or not, the whole mechanism of Google rankings seems to be what is driving several photographers who are following Davis' example.

In Florida, Chad Pilster ( wants that higher placement in Google that comes from blogging. "The more you talk about, the more likely you might get a person through an organic search on Google," Pilster says. Blogging helps drive people to his Website he insists.

The same too for Craig Kohlruss at the Fresno Bee, who has his own Website for his freelance business. ( "It helps my (Google) rankings when people go to the blog and then migrate to the main site," says Kohlruss.

Plus he realizes he has a chance to have clients get to know him better. "Probably the most important reason for doing the blog," Kohlruss says, "is to have fresh material out there for prospective clients to see. If the website is the cream of the crop in photographs, the blog is the latest work. I've been told clients like that and can see you more as a person when they look through your work and read about how you did it."

So at one level, there seems to be a three-word answer to the question, "Why bother to blog?" Marketing, marketing, marketing.

And in this world of digital social networking in which everyone is an entrepreneur, an independent contractor, maybe that’s the best reason of all.

Jim McNay teaches and writes about photojournalism in California—while fantasizing about running a charter fishing business in Key West. He has a toe in the blogging water at:

Related Links:
McNay's member page
McNay's blog

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