The Wells Point celebrated its first birthday yesterday. It has been quite a year. We launched last year just before the big Photo Plus trade show in New York City. This year, I am writing from NYC, where I am again attending the Photo Plus show. So, just what has happened within The Wells Point since the website went live on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008?
(If you are a long time reader of the blogs on The Wells Point site you may note that some blog entries pre-date the October, 2008 launch. Those entries were derived from the monthly newsletters, I was sending out to students and friends in the build-up to the site’s launch.)
Once the site launched, I had to get into the discipline of blogging twice a week. That was initially a real challenge, but as time has gone on, I have developed a kind of rhythm. I keep a running page of ideas for potential blog pieces. Those ideas come from things I read, conversations I have or e-mails I exchange. If a topic is clearly worthy of a blog post, I write one immediately. Some ideas need time to either gestate in my head. For others, I wait till enough people raise the question with me and then I know the topic is of indeed of wider interest. Plenty of ideas sit on my list for as much as year and never go anywhere, except eventually into the digital recycling bin.
In the last year I have learned more than I ever could imagine about multi-media in general and Final Cut Pro software in particular. My organizational skills, which were already pretty substantial, have been ratcheted up further. When I am out photographing for stock or on assignment these days, I am clearly working with one assignment in mind. But increasingly, The Wells point is a potential outlet for some of the same work, so I now am photographing (and especially videotaping) on location for two “masters.” I am much more diligent about writing down half-baked ideas that pop into my head. A flash of inspiration can easily turn into a podcast or a blog, but only if I actually write it down.
One thing I had not anticipated in launching The Wells Point is how often I will answer a query by directing the questioner to a particular blog entry or podcast. One year after starting the site, that makes perfect sense! The resource list is a planned example of how The Wells Point can be a resource for photographers, but the blogs and video podcasts are now similar resources.
When I first started the site, I had some concern that my on-line lessons, in the form of video podcasts, would cannibalize my workshop teaching. The opposite seems to be true. I encourage students who are about to attend a class with me to look at the site and I usually direct them to specific podcasts. That way they are doubly prepared to do in class what they have seen on-line. After the workshops, students often go back to the video podcasts and blog entries to review what was covered in the workshop.
For me, the best part of what has happened in the year since we launched The Wells Point is the ongoing dialogue we have created. The dialogue explores creativity, vision, technique and tools, without going overboard into too much technology.
Without all of you, the subscribers, none of this would have happened. The recent addition of the galleries of student work is the next step in that ongoing dialogue, a dialogue that is fast becoming a source of creative inspiration for many.
For me, it the dialogue is an affirmation that The Wells Point is helping aspiring and accomplished photographers, stimulating their creativity and improving their craftsmanship. I used to wonder if we could really do that, but a year later it is clear we can. Imagine what we can do together in another year!