March 24, 2009 · 0 comments

3-861-61  stock photo of Utah, St George, Entrada at Snow Canyon Golf Course

Years ago, in a different life, I worked on a systems project using the Smalltalk language. Most of the development projects of that era were enormous exercises, carefully planned, projected, reviewed and re-reviewed before the first lines of code were written. The requirements stage, figuring out what was wanted, took forever, back and forth among designers and users. Smalltalk projects were different. Rather than think every detail out before hand, analysts would get a general idea of the goal of the project, and then build a small part of the system right away. It would be a working prototype, a foundation, not just a cardboard mockup. The idea was that by seeing something quickly, being able to touch it and use it, see how it worked (or didn’t work), users could give feedback early. Over multiple iterations back and forth the system would grow and change to meet the need.

Photography in the field can be approached in a similar manner. Some photographers and art directors prefer to plan everything beforehand and then, committed, shoot the scene. Another way, more nerve-wracking perhaps, and less structured, is to begin shooting early and see where it leads you. Working with a photographic subject, whether models, still life, a city scene or a landscape, is an iterative project. You can never really know where it will lead. The process of engaging with the subject, involves working the scene, looking, watching, shooting, responding, seeing, reframing. The early images are prototypes, rough sketches, perhaps. And in the iterations, the back and forth, a vision emerges, something not seen at first, unplanned.

So too with websites, at this moment. A rush of restructuring, migration, cutting and fitting, and this is the working prototype. Not an end but a beginning. It’s a bit rough around the edges, things don’t line up right and some links are likely broken. Over the next few months I expect it will all change significantly and I have idea where it will lead. Your comments, of course, are welcome.

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