Self Portrait of the Artist as a Weeping Narcissus (free after Olaf Nicolai) © Norman Beierle, 2010.

A vicious ostrich, wedding mania in India, Nagatani’s Chromatherapy, scanner-hacked “pittance-cameras” and the scoop on the hottest new starlet of war photography; it’s fair to say that Norman and Hester are presently on top form.

Their generous sharing of finds along “the won­drous lanes and stray paths in the ter­ri­tory that comes with photography” often leave me gazumped and thinking afresh. Everyone knows I love Mrs. Deane, so it was great to read their take on what (photo) blogs do and where they might go if we choose to decide.

I hope you (and they) will tolerate such a large quote. It’s solid gold.

Blog posts are left as mark­ers for the flock, to indi­cate where inter­est­ing fod­der my be cached, where new projects can start, where ques­tions can be engen­dered or where the ground becomes unsta­ble. Each blog post can be viewed as a flag on the map, a point of inter­est for the visual tourist, for the data miner, for the visual entre­pre­neur, for the honey seeker. It can offer valu­able infor­ma­tion, or it can be a dead end, a tromp de l’oeil. At least it is an invi­ta­tion to spend your time, how­ever brief, with the text, the links, the visu­als.

Aren’t we in a sense like hook­ers along the dig­i­tal high­way, point­ing our fin­gers down in a come hither motion? I take it that in blog-land, reg­u­lar vis­i­tors do their rounds, like we used to do our rounds on the flea mar­kets, the used book fairs, the yard sales, the pho­to­graphic equip­ment fairs in run down com­mu­nity cen­ters. Now most of that now takes place on the eBays, Craigslists and Etsys of this world, and these com­pa­nies profit from it, as do all par­ties, but the com­pa­nies most of all by pro­vid­ing the com­mod­ity, the plat­form, the pipeline. Sim­i­lar high­ways start to evolve for the photo world, does that mean we can soon expect the first blog equiv­a­lent of the chain stores?

More thoughts start to sur­face, do we want our blo­gos­phere to become a mar­ket place? Do we com­mer­cial­ize or not, or maybe just a lit­tle bit? Or where will we find the means to sup­port our ide­al­is­tic and wil­fully naive notion of a free exchange between equals? Of course, when given the choice, I pre­fer the vita con­tem­pla­tiva, but I am forced to sur­vive in the vita activa, where there is no such thing as free love, and where every­thing either has a price or is con­sid­ered worth­less. If I would want to change that, I should be will­ing to fight for that, but am I, are we? (Photo) Blog­ging is seen by many as a fun thing that we do in our free time, not as a seri­ous activ­ity, or even as what it is also, a polit­i­cal act.

Not to pro­mote arro­gance, but maybe the hard core con­tent blog­ger ought to be more self con­scious about the role he/she could play. Some­times — and curi­ously enough many of these some­times occur when I visit places like Al Jazeera — , I feel as if we sim­ply have been pussy foot­ing for too long. What are we wait­ing for? Let’s go and make things happen!

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