(For more info on “Simonson On Location” see the previous blog entry, “Creating Simonson On Location, Part 2”)
When Mitch and I began talking about the look, feel and structure of Simonson On Location, we decided to keep it very similar to the current art website. For one thing, we have a good, stable, user-friendly web design, so why change it? On top of that, it makes life easier for my current collectors if the new website has the same easy-to-use design as the fine-art website they’ve been visiting for years.
But of course at the same time, we wanted to make it clear that this was a different website with a slightly different focus, so we gave it its own distinctive look. We changed the background to black, and changed the theme colors a bit. I chose a blue-green theme because it reminds me of the color of the ocean in the tropics.
I Start Choosing the Photographs
When I actually got started putting the Simonson On Location galleries together, the very first set of photographs I worked on were from my first photo shoot with Marcus.
The first part of this photo shoot showed the progression from getting on the boat in Angra dos Reis, sailing around with Marcus getting naked on the boat, then arriving at a deserted island, where Marcus dove into the water and we followed him to the beach in a rowboat.
Structure of the Site
As I worked with this first set of photos, I started to get clearer on the structure I wanted for the new website.
In a situation like this it would be easy to take an entire photo shoot of 900 or 1000 photographs and just upload the whole mass of them to the website, and call it “Marcus Photo Shoot” or whatever. But it seems to me that would be a bit like writing a novel without any chapters, paragraphs, or punctuation! You could read it, after a fashion, but it wouldn’t be much fun.
I certainly didn’t want to do that. In a way, I’m presenting my own story here, and I want it told properly. I also want it to be fun and entertaining for the reader/viewer.
Each Photo Shoot is a Story
So I decided to look at each photo shoot as an entire story. I would divide each shoot into several galleries, so that I could tell a bit of the story with each gallery. The number of images in each gallery would depend on what was going on in the photos. Sometimes I might shoot dozens of photographs of the model with just minor alterations in his pose or expression. Not much story going on there so that would be kept in a single gallery.
But if there was a lot of action, changes of scenery, etc., then I would divide it into smaller galleries, because there would be more story to tell. It’s a bit like dividing a story into chapters. You want each chapter to have a basic subject or theme, and to move things along in a logical yet entertaining way.
This meant that some galleries might have 100 images in them—while others might have as few as 25 or 30. My goal was to let the photographs tell their story, and to have the viewer see and “hear” the story of the photo shoot as it happened.
I Create the First Three Galleries
So the first 3 galleries of the first Marcus photo shoot went something like this:
Gallery 1: We’re on the boat in Angra dos Reis, sailing out into the islands to find a deserted beach. Marcus is wearing speedos, and I start shooting photos as he lounges around on the boat. At the very end of this gallery, he begins stripping off his speedos.
Gallery 2: Marcus lounges around naked as we’re still sailing around the islands.
Gallery 3: We finally find our island and Marcus dives off the boat to swim to the beach.
These would be just the first 3 galleries. The entire photo shoot might end up having 20 or more galleries, with each one telling a bit more of the story.
As I put these segments together and wrote a narrative for each, I began to really enjoy myself. I liked the way this was unfolding, and it felt like it would be fun for my collectors to read and view these “stories.”
I put together the first three galleries from that Marcus photo shoot to get things rolling, then moved on to another photo shoot. I decided I’d tackle Eduardo in Rio next.