I feel today having an internet presence is a key element of any artists practice as it allows you to project your practice globally. I have experiment over the years with many different tools and products to build an online gallery. My first sites used hand coded script which is time consuming and was acceptable at a time where limited functionality was acceptable on the web. However today expectations on what represents a well branded site have changed but so have the tools available.
I have looked a t multiple photography hosting options including Squarespace, jAlbum and Zenfolio. Adobe Creative cloud provides a number of free portfolio options via Behance and myportfolio which provides free hosting within the monthly subscription. I have been using WordPress since version 2.0 on a hosted site. When I have periodically reviewed the different options there has not been a compelling reason to migrate. The key reasons for my continued use of wordpress are:
- I can integrate photo galleries and a blog into a single site
- Regular updates to the core platform that keep it current to evolving web standards
- Rich community of third party developers providing free or paid extensions to the core product
- Integration with other social media platforms
- Easy changes to look and feel of site
- Integration into my mobile workflow. I no longer need use a computer to publish on site it can all be accomplished via a smartphone
I now make more use of subscription based plug-ins on my sites with Photocrati being my preferred theme for photography centric sites (in fact this CRJ is using a Photocrati theme.)
Given the diverse nature of the my photographic and artistic influences the websites used by those individuals vary significantly however there are a number of common design aesthetics that are present in the sites. They are typically clean using simple typographic layout, menus create clear sections to the information on the sites. Generally they use a strong single topic on the landing (home) page. The sites contain other forms of media in addition to the photography which I consider as important to provide the visitor with added context. When publishing work online the question of watermarking images is raised as a protection mechanism. What is interesting is that the sites have looked at do not watermark the images which has prompted me to reconsider its use on my own sites as I now consider it as a distraction and I am better using other techniques to prevent copyright infringement.
The current layout for my primary web presence: