Andy Baio interviews Alan Taylor, the creator of The Big Picture, the new photography blog at Boston.com that lots of people are talking about. He explains how he got permission to build the blog and how he runs it on a day to day basis.
One of the first entries that really demonstrated how the site is fundamentally different than most journalism and every other blog was Indigenous Brazilians Protest Dam. The photos themselves are stunning, and illustrate a topic that I knew absolutely nothing about.
One question in the interview is why other sites haven’t experimented with presenting very large images to users right off the bat. I suspect that as much as anything, it’s concern about bandwidth that in part goes back to the earliest days of Web design. As both Andy and Alan point out, most newspaper Web sites present relatively small images, but that’s also true even of photo sites like Flickr. To get a nice, large image on Flickr you have to drill down pretty far, and it’s an incredibly popular site built explicitly for the purpose of viewing photography. I think that it was Alan’s willingness to cast aside the conventions of the profession that enabled him to take this relatively minor but incredibly significant step. I know that when I view photos in iPhoto or Picasa, I look at them in full screen mode. It makes sense that we’d prefer to view them that way online as well.