I finally launched my commercial/professional website. I created it with the extensive help from artist/graphic designer/web designer Sara Zimmerman. She created my logo, color palette, and built the look and feel of my website. I also enlisted the help of my friend, Jim Kaspari, who specializes in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). He helped me find the best URL, develop key search words, and helped ensure all the pages are search-engine optimized.
My website, www.photoswithmeaning.com, is a huge step for me. On top of the expense of putting it out there*, it is my way of saying to the world, "Here I am. Come and get me." I plan to use it as a portfolio and business contact site.
How did I get that url? Jim and I were discussing key words that I find important to describe my philosophy about my art and photography. He then used some of his SEO magic prowess to determine which combination of words had a great search engine potential, mixing the uniqueness (lack of competition) for the words and the number of times those words were combined into an online search. We were both surprised that photoswithmeaning.com was still available. It had that great balance of being unique yet and often searched for.
I debuted the site name to a group of fellow photographers with mixed feedback. Many thought the url is unique and very easy to remember. Many thought I should go with karlsutphinphotography.com since I am the brand. One photographer shared that it may seem pretentious to assume my photos have meaning. That decision is up to the viewer. I had to digest this feedback and determine how it would shape my website.
I agreed the name is very catchy and easy to remember. I took the second bit of feedback of using my name as the url and decided against it due to the fact that my name is not a phonetically easy name to spell. I am not blessed with names like Kevin Bacon or Brad Pitt nor one with a catchy onamonapia. Still, I know that I must be my own brand in the art world. At some point, I would like someone to say, "I own a Sutphin print" instead of "I own a fine-art nude." I am not at that point. My name is not recognizable as a brand, yet. To help me assure I am associated with my art and website, my site is labeled Karl Sutphin Photography. I am going to purchase karlsutphinphotography.com soon and will link it to my site.
I believe that with the billions of photos snapped and uploaded to the web every year, the value and meaning of photos is just above absolute zero. We should strive to create photos with meaning. We should demand seeing the same as well. This is one of my core philosophical beliefs on art. It should mean something to someone, or it isn't important.
As for the criticism of assuming the importance, or whether my photos have meaning. I agree that others will have to determine if my art has meaning or value. If I don't assume my work has some meaning, then why should I create it and put it out there? I know my work wont work for everyone. Many wont care or give another look. That is OK. I know it will have meaning to enough art lovers.
*You get what you pay for. As with my philosophy on purchasing computers and photography gear, get the best you can afford.