The 3 C's, or: O.P.P.

On the BotzBlog link page, in the blog roll, you'll find the Three C's: Conscientious, Consumptive, and Coincidences; run by Joerg Colberg, James Luckett, and the slightly reclusive Robert Mirani respectively. They are the leaders in a form (also followed by some sites like Luis Forrolas's flux+mutability) that presents an alternative to sites about photo equipment — they are sites about Other People's Pictures. All of these sites have great photos — I mean great — every single day. Because they're OPP.

Here on Botzilla, I only run photos that I've made myself, with the single exception of a small copy of this photo by John Brownlow for the entry The Old Shell Game. I included it because it was part of the source material for this, one of my own photos.

"Aha," you are telling yourself, "now Bjorke's going to heavily dis these guys because they don't run their own photos." Not quite — in fact of of them occasionally run their own photos, or in the case of Luis, he maintains a parallel site of his own shots. Botzilla's method isn't the only valid one. I come not to bury (C)easar, but to praise him.

The 3C's are, in old-style blog tradition, filters — a way for you to find things of interest without having to, well, find them. And what's more, the C's are actually photography filters, a powerful corrective to sites like Mark Goldstein's so-called "" which earns it's ".com" tag by being a listing of other people's reviews of photo-equipment-marketing announcements. Photos of... cameras! Ungh.

I remember reading my photo history books, and lamenting with jealousy over my absence in the NY photo café' scene of the 1950's and 1960's — one can imagine the amazing converstaions when you read that Robert Frank used to show up at the same cafés as, say, W. Eugene Smith and Diane (and Allan) Arbus, when Elliot Erwitt would not think it unusual to run across William Klein at martini time. Lucky, lucky, lucky, couldn't they know how lucky they were to see Richard Avedon and Garry Winogrand working a few blocks apart and everyone (except Avedon) hoping Walker Evans could steer a little work their way?

Yet today we have the internet, and by comparison the 50's seem provincially isolated. Today I can get my photos seen and dismissed by some really world-class people whose opinions I respect, and in turn I can see a lot of work — far more than I could possibly consume merely through subscriptions to photo mags or visits to museums. The three C's play a prominent role in this Brave New World, though not without peril — like most such sites, they concentrate more on one-way information flow: they tell you what to look at, and there's little if any discussion of the merits or lack thereof, nor of how seeing such work might reflect on the creation of their (or your) own new photos.

Still, in a po-mo-decon world, sites about pictures are as valid as sites of pictures. Heck, these days we have prominent photographers who claim they don't even have a camera.

Comments on "The 3 C's, or: O.P.P."

May 10, 2004 05:56 AM

*sites about pictures are as valid as sites of pictures*

Indeed! All three of them provide an easy access to the works of photographers I never would have found on my own. Their selections are varied enough that while I certainly don't find everything appealing, the jaw dropping wow factor is high enough to keep me coming back. If you don't see something on these sites which is educational and/or inspirational over the course of a week, it may be time to re-calibrate both your monitor and your mind.

I do miss the discussion and community aspects which a comment section might add to two of them but that is, of course, the site owner's choice.

May 10, 2004 07:01 AM

Thanks for a very fair post. This is going to sound disingenuous, but I'm not sure I really started out the blog to be a pomo exercise in rambling about OPP, though that was certainly in the mix. I just saw what I was doing as some hybrid of personal journal (reflecting on my experiences as a part time photo student and freelance photog) and photo art-world slummer. I also figured I might ramble on heavily about a few fave photographers, since there was so little online about some of them, like Sarah Moon. But I've always seen what I do as the equivalent of what fanatics in other fields do, like wargamers or fantasy baseball folks or 78rpm collectors running small clubs...managing a niche endeavor that would occasionally attract other very well-meaning enthusiasts. At worst, I figured it would a slightly more acceptable way of talking to myself out loud about things that excited me, which is what tons of fanzine publishers still do today.

I'm a little too random to see my blog as serving as any sort of "reference" or "education" fact, I like selecting obscure photographers who might only have five good images in their portfolio if it happens to add to the karma of my stream of consciousness on a given day. If I were to make up a list of everyone whose name I've mentioned since I started in January, I might be surprised at the folks I haven't talked about or name-dropped. But that's blogging for you...the more random, the better as far as I'm concerned, because appreciating photography (and art in general these days) is about thinking beyond established boundaries and frames of reference.

Though the blog has turned into a bit of a link passing exercise these days, I'm a big fan of good arts and culture criticism in general as a baseline for appreciating photography, and would like to talk more about the stuff that's good at some point... that's if I can keep the blog going, given other commitments that are pending.

I actually wish there were more comments and community, like John indicated (not necessarily on my blog, but somewhere like Conscientious or Consumptive), but communities of interest in the art world (and the photo world beyond the gear and technique people isn't that different) tend to be fairly fragmented. I guess topica's street photography board is a community, and there are film blogs/boards where some of that exists, but with art photography it seems more difficult to sustain, and I don't have the time or energy to do anything.

May 11, 2004 08:15 PM

Well, first of all thanks for the kind words. I'm glad that other people enjoy me being so unorganized that the only way for me to remember good links is to put them into a weblog and write some comments so that I'll remember.

I would have never started the weblog if there had been a site like that. notwithstanding if you wanted to find cool photography you were more or less on your own. I didn't really start the site with the intention to build a big directory or something, though. It just happened. And now that Coincidences and some other sites joined the crowd it's getting interesting with a bunch of people "competing". Thankfully, we all got somewhat different interests so that's an added bonus.

Originally, I did have comments. Originally, I did like the idea of having serious discussions about photography. However, it turns out that that never really happened. Apart from all the spam, that got worse and worse, I ended up with the same few people writing stuff like "wow, I like this!" That's certainly nice but in the end, I figured that wasn't worth dealing with all the spam so I disabled comments.

I also noticed that people on the internet seem to hate the idea of saying anything that's not positive. So you'd never get any comments where people tell you they didn't like some photo(grapher's work). There never was any real discussion. It's like on Amazon where you rarely see bad reviews of stuff and if there is one that review gets lots of "not helpful" votes. Or if you're a TV junkie you can call it the American Idol effect where week after week that British guy gets booed for stating the obvious.

May 25, 2004 12:08 AM

i've always been an avoricious web surfer (and library browser, antique shop ruminator) and, as a teacher, always interested in imparting the things i know. in some ways, the blog was really my reaction to no longer teaching photography classes - and yet still wanting to share the things i saw and did.

and just as consumptive has inspired and influenced a number of blogs, i in turn was pushed along by others, most notabely mr. dirk hine of subterranean notes ** (check out his early incarnations - the archives from 1999-2001 - he made the standards). through this early blog i saw the potential for linking and filtering as an aethetic response to information; that linking and fitering can be as creative (for myself) as rewarding (for others) and as important (for a community) as the making of original things.

blogs came out at a time when commercialization was really hoping and hyping its desire to crush the souls of all those using the internet for personal publishing. you'd do a search on yahoo for polaroid photography and get responses for Downy Fabric softener. of course i'm exaggerating, but getting to and finding those personal, homemade, not-for-profit-but-just-because sort of sites was becoming harder and harder to come by. blogs, and google, brought people and their expression back to the forefront of the internet. if the big search sites and directories would not or could not help you find something interesting, it turned out there were plenty of other private folks who were happy to point out some likely directions.

like joerg, i've never found comments particularly useful. if someone really wants to talk to me, they can and do send e-mail. photography is an immensely difficult thing to talk about, requiring time, patience and understanding. i've been working in this field for 18 years, 14 of those in school as a student and a teacher, and can mark on one hand the personally meaningful discussions i've had. they are there to be had, but they are also few and far between. in the mean time, i just don't have the time or the energy to host or participate much in a community type website. besides there are lots of places to go for that sort of thing. the photorant sure has a lot to say -- and perhaps that's how disucussion really, truly happens: not in one easily organized place or forum, but in all the space and time between all the things pushing and pulling us this way and that. discussion is interstitial.

thanks for the nod and the kind words.

oh, and before i forget, i should point out that, though neither joerg or i post many of our own pictures on our blog pages, we do maintain large galleries for all to see, and other stuff too. we are more than the sum of our links! you just have to knock off the extra bits from the domain name:

Betting Odds
April 26, 2005 11:35 AM

You are doing wonderful work for newbies!!:) thanks a lot! dont know if I can do ne thing in return, buti will try my best!


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