Where is your website?
Six years ago, during a brain
storming session with two
writer friends of mine, they
asked, where is your website?
My answer was that I did not
know how to build one and
did not want to take the time
to learn. But I knew that a
website would become a
critical way to present my
work, so what did I do?
The Internet… in all of its deranged forms
and here it is, the new www.adammarelli.com
The internet is a weird place. If it had to be a room in your house, it would probably live somewhere between the toilet plumbing and the attic. It is an essential tool and it is a virtual hoarder of useless junk. From forgotten tweets to dot matrix video games, the internet stores a cache of human history that many of us would prefer to forget. The world of online connections is without dispute the only landscape more perplexing than a North Korean parade. They can’t write laws fast enough to govern it, the authority to enforce the laws is still up for grabs, and every national defense organization in the world is pulling their hair out because they know that “If its on a computer, someone can get their hands on it.”
The Alternatives are painful
The internet may be a thorn in the side of the NSA, but for artists and photographers its a blessing, most of the time. Somewhere between the charade we call the news, pirating software and pornography exists an opportunity to showcase your work. Websites offer a number of distinct advantages that even non-professionals can take advantage of like:
- Simplicity: If you have a photo collection that looks like a garage sale threw up on your computer screen, a website will help you edit down your images.
- Focus: Once you can see all of your images in one place, you will be amazed how your successes and failures reveal themselves. How do you know if you need to apply focus to your photography? Its easy…if someone asks you, what do you like to shoot and your answer, in any way resembles this statement: “ I like to photograph the world from my point of view,” then you NEED help on focusing your work. Everyone shoots the world from their point of view…a website and an outside opinion will help you understand why you really take pictures.
- Money: I can’t tell you how many photographers say they would like to make money with photography. When I ask them how they show people their work, they stare blankly off in the distance as if I’ve just asked them to solve the Konigsberg Bridge Problem. (I used to be in this group…don’t go about it the hard way, sending PDFs to prospective clients. It can do the trick, but its a lot of work. I learned the hard way that a website is much easier.)
- Credibility: Particularly if you are just starting out or you are not a good salesman/woman of your own work, let a website do the talking for you. The design aesthetic and effectiveness of a website can say everything you need to sell yourself to a prospective client, gallery, or submission board.
- Grants/Contests: Almost everything you can apply for will ask for your website. The judges are busy and/or important (not always the later.) But panels often want to see more of your work and do not want to have to contact you. They would rather stalk your website. Its the professional pervy thing to do. It allows them to check you out more fully without letting you know. Can’t tell you how many people have done this to me, only to later slip up and say “Oh yes I saw that on your website.” It takes 3rd grade math for me to figure out that I posted the topic in question ages ago…thus outing their stalking habits. Good fun for all of us.
Before I put together a website, there were two major obstacles I needed to overcome. The first was that ten years ago the format options between HTML and Flash were expensive, limiting, and complicated. With the introduction of WordPress and more recently Square Space things got a whole lot cheaper, easier, and more dynamic. There are no more excuses for not having a website. Take that from a guy who used them all up in the last decade.
The second obstacle is something that many of you might share too. Photography is a component of my artistic endeavors. The other half of my training is as a sculptor and a draftsmen. It was not until the last five years that these two bodies of work found a common ground. Prior to that the work seemed too disconnected by the mediums to live happily on one page. Its a maturing process, one I wanted to rush, but could not no matter how hard I tried. In the end I consider this new site only a beta test of things to come. The important lesson that I understood was that its easier to get a site up and then fill it with content.
So whether you are an artists who has prolonged their entry into the website world or an enthusiast that wants to test the waters of professional photography, give yourself the credit you deserve and set up a website. I promise it will be a worth while endeavor.
p.s. Don’t worry about it being perfect, there will be plenty of mistakes along the way…I still have a few to work out myself. But get the website going. Its existence will give you a reason to go back and smooth out the details.