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New Project: The Big Picture

I'm happy to announce the launch of a new project of mine, one that lives not on my own domain, but that of my employer, boston.com. It's called The Big Picture, a news photo blog inspired by publications like Life Magazine (of old), National Geographic, and online experiences like MSNBC.com's Picture Stories galleries and Brian Storm's MediaStorm.

The Big Picture is intended to highlight high-quality, amazing imagery - with a focus on current events, lesser-known stories and, well, just about anything that comes across the wire that looks really interesting. Each entry will be made up of anywhere from 6-18 photographs, tied together through some common narrative.

My first experiences with serious online photojournalism came back when I was a developer at msnbc.com back in 1996-97. I've always loved hanging around with the creative groups, designers, writers, editors. That's where I first met Brian Storm and his team, and was really struck by their commitment to quality, and how much difference their selection and presentation of photographs really made - far better than anything else available online at the time. I've held that level of commitment as a standard of mine for a long time.

The photography on The Big Picture comes from many sources, largely wire feeds of AP, Reuters, Getty and more. The stories are of my own choosing, sometimes they are the stories defined by the photographer, sometimes they are related in other ways, but every entry has a story threaded through it.

The sizes of the photographs are deliberately large - taking advantage of the majority of web users who have screens capable of displaying 1024x768 or larger. The long-held tradition of keeping images online tiny and lightweight is commendable still - when designing a general purpose site. But one dedicated to quality imagery should take full advantage of the medium, and I hope I've struck a good balance with The Big Picture.

When I see quality photography consigned to the archives, or when I see bandwidth readily given up to video streams of dubious quality, or when I see photo galleries that act as ad farms, punishing viewers into a click-click-click experience just to drive page views - those times are the times I'm glad I was able to get this project off the ground (many thanks to my friends within boston.com)

And the thing that makes me happiest about it - I'm telling stories once again, on a regular basis, with great support and great platform. I hope you enjoy The Big Picture - go check it out.

20 Comments +

bravo dude! I used to spend many hours clicking through the tiny jpgs on yahoo news, longing for something like this. Big Picture is going to be huuuuge.
by Anonymous t o n x at 6:55 PM 
This is a welcome new site to the internet. Bookmarked.
by Anonymous Christopher at 7:45 PM 
The Big Picture is fantastic! As a journalist and a photographer, I appreciate the chance to see these excellent pictures at a decent size.

Great job.
by Anonymous Mark A. Dodge Medlin at 9:17 PM 
telling stories. yes. This is a great project. Instant fan.
by Anonymous collegewebguy at 11:34 PM 
I just set this as my screensaver in Mac OS X Leopard by choosing the ".Mac and RSS" option under Photos. Cool, it works!
by Blogger Grant Hutchins at 2:00 AM 
Love it... I'm a sucker for great photography :)
by Anonymous John Lampard at 9:55 AM 
Alan,

Unrelated topic, but you might want to mention to your wife that Ken Tilden died, back in January 2008. There's a blog apparently hooked up by the Village Theatre gang online that allows you to read more about it.

I am completely in shock, as I just found out about it maybe 20 minutes ago. 36 years old.

Sorry for the bad news, wasn't sure where else to post this. At the very least I'd assumed your wife would want to know.

Regards,
S.Amou
by Blogger Sonny Amou at 4:38 PM 
[this is k]
by Blogger pup at 9:01 PM 
Alan I read that you are looking for "daily life" photos from Iran but are having difficulty. I think I could help you out in this regard.
JJ - you can contact me via the link.
by Anonymous JJ at 10:09 AM 
Alan- I absolutely love the boston.com photo blog. Especially some of the pic after the Olympics amazing. Great work on that project!

I'd love to chat sometime around a project of mine. I could definitely use some technical advice on building an app of my own and would value your input.

I'm on twitter @ryangraves hope to hear from you soon. If not thats cool too. Cheers.
by Blogger Ryan at 7:58 PM 
I've been reading the big picture for a while now and absolutely love it.I'm glad I found this site (randomly,I might add) to be able to let you know your work is appreciated.
by Anonymous Anonymous at 8:22 AM 
Thanks for your vision - this is an eye opening site.
by Anonymous Anonymous at 1:56 PM 
The Big Picture is wonderful--gorgeous pictures, simply eye-catching and thought-provoking. What about expanding this idea and 'branch out', deviding it into a 'Big Picture' blog for each continent? That way, you can cover and get more amazing pictures in more countries. I'd love to see more pictures from Asian countries. :) If you ever look for pictures from Malaysia, I'm your girl.
by Anonymous Sha at 1:10 AM 
Alan,
The Big Pic is a bookmarked favorite site. Good work! Who knew?! Your interest in old cameras, cool computing and good storytelling has really come together beautifully.

Best to the family,

Todd R
Alan,

Your Big Picture project is incredible, as is your personal website and Flickr photo collection. I have added your links to my website and made you a contact on Flickr. I'll visit often to see your new photo essays and projects!

Best regards
Rob
by Anonymous Rob Mahan at 8:09 PM 
I was inspired by what you created soI commissioned a WordPress theme in a similar format so that I could photo blog. The designer and I have now released the theme for public use.

My photo blog is at: http://www.weinbergPhoto.com

The theme is at http://andreamignolo.com/zack-990

Hope all your fans enjoy...
by Blogger Josh at 12:37 PM 
Hey Alan,

I have been a fan of this website and of your journalism for quite some time now...

I am on the school yearbook for my school (Parkway North High) and I was wondering if you could approve the use of one of the pictures from your story on Obama. All I would need is a simple confirmation either through my email.. This would be greatly, greatly appreciated..

(ahadh13@yahoo.com)

Thank you very much once again.
by Anonymous Anonymous at 2:16 PM 
The Big Picture is amazing! thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!
by Anonymous Anonymous at 1:53 PM 
Hi - I'm a high school geography teacher and I've found that "The Big Picture" is the greatest source of inspiring pictures for any young person to learn about the world. They love geography because of these pictures - it's like magic.

I've begun tagging/labelling your albums using Google Reader and now have an amazingly well organized quality photo source for amazing pictures in the classroom.

A question for you - do you know of any similar blogs to your own that you would also recommend?
by Blogger Christopher Calvert at 10:38 AM 
Love it! Need I say more?
by Anonymous Anonymous at 11:49 PM 
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