Saturday, July 26, 2008

What's A Photo Blog For?

A photo blog is of course a blog to display (or whose main content are) photos. That’s obvious. But that’s not the answer I want to discuss here.

A few days ago, I received a comment from a fellow Indonesian “photo blogger” requesting an exchange of link with my BANDUNG DAILY PHOTO (BDP) blog. I would usually respond positively to such a request. Being a new kid on the block (or blog?), BDP would certainly benefit a lot from links of similar blogs. But not this time.

The reason was that, after checking the link the owner gave, I found that the so-called photo blog contained fewer than a dozen of photos of poor quality, which apparently had not been updated for a long time. But that’s not the only reason why I rejected the request. In addition of not qualifying as a proper photo blog, the said blog appeared to have been made for the sole purpose of hosting advertisements.

I don’t mind advertisments, which could help a blog owner to pay for the cost of maintaining a blog, and perhaps make a little profit. But if a blog has virtually no useful content and has a lot of ads, then it’s rubbish! And I don’t want to deal with that kind of stinky stuff that only makes the internet a litter bin of useless things.

I feel sad (and disgusted!) that there are people out there who think that a photo blog is just a convenient way of making a blog which can host ads (AdSense friendly?). They make a “photo blog” because they can’t write properly in English (which is a requisite for AdSense), but their photos are also junk because they don’t have the slighest idea about what a photo blog is supposed to be.

The kind of bloggers I just mentioned are just lazy, mindless, and “immoral” people who, out of desperation for money, would do just about anything: claiming what they are not (read: lie), stealing others’ works and claim them as their own, or even outrightly throwing a bunch of garbage on your face. The blogs they make are not worth peeping even with your eyes shut.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

City Daily Photo Portal and Blogs

Written by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Following the introduction of BANDUNG DAILY PHOTO (BDP) yesterday, let me now introduce you to the network that links the city daily photo blogs (of which BDP is a member), how it began, and some characteristics that its members share that are of note to those who are interested in discussions on photography and photography issues.

City Daily Photo, the portal that links blogs that meet the criteria of covering a single area/city and posting a picture a day about that area/city, began its existence with Eric Tenin’s PARIS – ONE PHOTO A DAY blog in 2005 (Source: Gerald). The blog attracted so many visitors who were interested in seeing or remembering Paris, that it soon began to inspire others to do the same about the place/city where they live. Thus what began as a single blog covering a single city has since brought about a sort of “movement” (if I may call that a movement) in the world of blogging, photography, and citizen journalism.

What’s interesting about this type of photo blog is not, in my opinion, the photographs’ quality. Although the name of the blogs aggregated at the portal has the label ‘photo’ in them, the emphasis is not on the photographs (read: quality photographs), but on the places which they cover and the blogs’ individual owners’ perspectives, of whom many are not photographers or even photography enthusiasts.

As expected, the pictures’ quality on these blogs is secondary. (I am not saying that none of them have good quality pictures; quite a number of them do have great and professional quality pictures and are managed by pro photographers/photo enthusiasts. But this lack of photo quality is, in my opinion, decently compensated by the theme (the place) and the owner’s perspective. Visiting these blogs is like taking a visual tour of a place with a personal guide who has intimate knowledge of it and, unlike taking a tour with a professional guide or travel agency, you will not only be shown of the usual tourist stuff but also the day-to-day ordinary life of the city as the owner experiences it.

In one way, what these city photo bloggers do, can be categorized as citizen journalism which involves a practice of documentary photography. (More on this on the next post. For now, check them out and see if you like them. You can begin here, if you like.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Written by Eki Qushay Akhwan

My appology for having neglected you for quite some time. I know you’ve been waiting for the new postings and probably wondering if this blog is still alive. I’d like to assure you, it is. I still keep notes of what I want to write and share with you, and you are still on my thoughts. Busy schedules at work, however, have somehow prevented me from seriously setting aside time to write. There are also a couple of new blogging projects which have pretty much occupied my spare time (not much, but yes, I still do have spare time): The first one is BANDUNG DAILY PHOTO, and the second a virtual gallery of my own – which I’d rather not reveal at this time as I’m still working on and tweaking it, but you’ll be the first to know when I eventually launch it.

Honestly speaking, the BANDUNG DAILY PHOTO project was inspired first and mostly by Santy’s JAKARTA DAILY PHOTO (JDP) whose success in rating and consistency of publishing one photo per day over a long stretch of time really deserve a salute. Not many Indonesian photo bloggers I know can do that. Then I also found that JDP is part of an international network of daily city blog aggregated in a portal called citydailyphoto, where I found that there were only a handful of Indonesian cities that were represented: Semarang (Semarang Daily Photo), Yogyakarta (Jogja Portrait), Palembang (Palembang Daily Photo), Medan (Medan Daily Photo), Bogor (Bogor Daily Photo), Bali (2 blogs), Cibubur, Bekasi, and of course Bandung.

Bandung had actually had three daily photo blogs when I was considering to start mine: one seems to be dormant, and the other two were spasmodic (not posting regularly). Of these latter two, Bunyamin Najmi’s Bandung Raya blog was spasmodic, posting only about one or two photos a month, and the pictures posted were not consistently about Bandung (some of the pictures were about Jogja, for example). The other, Harry Makertia’s Imagi Bandung, had also seemed to be in a long slumber. I thought this was not good. As one of Indonesia’s biggest and most prominent cities, Bandung deserves a better representation within the international community of daily city photo bloggers, and as a photographer (well, self-proclaimed photographer) and resident of Bandung I naturally have a good number of Bandung-related photo collections. Armed with a conviction that I could post one decent picture a day for years ahead, I launched the the project.

The project is now almost one-month old and, I can confidently say, has had good reactions from other daily city photo bloggers around the world. (My great thanks to those who have stopped by my BANDUNG DAILY PHOTO, left encouraging comments, and provided generous links to their blogs.) There has also been some positive side effects of my blog’s presence. Imagi Bandung has since been reawakened and posting daily as it is supposed to be. Within this past month, I’ve also seen new citydaily photobloggers emerging from the other parts of the country: Hendrawan’s Riau Daily Photo is one of those that I think will be a serious new comer, having not missed a posting a day since it was launched.

I sincerely hope that more and more Indonesian cities will participate in the city daily photo blogs in the future. Big cities like Jakarta and Bandung certainly can have more than one blog representing them as many other cities do. Although there are already three active city daily photo bloggers covering Bandung, I believe each of us is unique in our perspectives and complement one another in giving a better overall picture of the city.

More story on city daily photo blog later.

Enjoy your day!

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