De FOTOgraaf van April 2007
A phlog is a virtual window on the world.
What motivates someone to post a photo
to his website every day?
Hans Arend de Wit
First thing in the morning, after starting my computer, is checking out some blogs and phlogs, so I make an inspiring shift from the world of dreams of the last seven hours to the world where I really want to be. Phlogs to me are more inspiring than most of the recently published photo books and there are lists of phloggers in case you'd like to meet new talents, like on http://www.photoblogsmagazine.org/ Phlogs, like books, are about personal ways of seeing the world, and it's so easy to see them and refocus your own outlook on the world.
I knew Sam Javanrouh's phlog already quite some time, and frequently came back to his site, and even subscribed to his mails with each new photo. Great photos that made me curious, to want to know more about Sam. I've come to know some phlog people directly, although it's sometimes hard to get in touch when they are successful - tens of thousands of visits per day as in Sam's case - since they get heaps of email. But with Sam I succeeded. In the virtual world of the Internet he's just a click away but it takes quite a journey to meet him in Toronto, to let him tell us how he rolled into his phlog, the ideas behind it, and all he can tell us more or less about his life in photography. Here he is.
Sensitivity for images was in his genes.
I was born in Tehran/Iran and moved to Canada in 1999. My father is a cinematographer, so I was around cameras when i was a kid and was always fascinated by them. But it wasn't until year 2000 that I bought my first digital camera, a Nikon CP950, and started to take photos very regularly. I didn't take any photography courses and I mostly learned from my father, and later I learned from reading books and online resources. I decided to start my photoblog project "daily dose of imagery" in July 2003 and post a new photo every day and I'm still doing that after more than 3 years. This project has helped me quite a lot since I have to hunt for a new photo every day. That way I improve my skills and technique all the time, and am I able to keep my photography level fresh. It was a few months after I started "DDOI" that my photoblog started to get recognition from local and international media and started to get nominations from different resources; for a list of all nominations and wins check out this page: <http://wvs.topleftpixel.com/about.htm>. And after a couple of years I started to get offers to do contract photography sessions, which was very unexpected and surprising to me.
What's is your main line of work, outside phlogging?
I work at Optix Digital Pictures, where I have a full time job as a creative director for special effects and animation, and this whole photography thing is a side project for me, so to be recognized like this is very rewarding for me. At Optix we're mostly involved in motion graphics, which involves broadcast design and title design. But we're also very active in special effects and animation for TV and Films including Music Videos, Commercials and TV Series. Lately we worked on a few shots for the film "Silent Hill" and finished the Effects for the TV Series "Starhunter" last year. We're now working on a big sci-fi series which we're doing everything from concept design to modeling, animation and compositing. We've also worked on Music Videos for internationally known artists like Celine Dion, Eros Ramazzotti, K-os (a Canadian hip-hop artist), Nelly Furtado and more.
I wonder how you prompt yourself to shoot what kind of themes.
My subjects and themes change all the time since I post a new photo everyday. But it also is a reflection of my mood on some days too. This project has been a part of my daily life for over three years now so it certainly has great emotional value and reflect different things about me, although unintentionally. And I've got to see to it that I shan't let a gap occur, because many visitors count on a new photo every day. Since you asked the number of daily unique viewers usually range from 20,000 to 85,000 on different days and my page views (hits) range from 50,000 to 180,000.
What was the effect of his success on the internet?
The success of his website gave Sam the strict discipline to daily post a new photo, so he's always looking for new and captivating images, cause he owes that to himself and to his visitors. The fantastic number of visitors proves that the photos doubtlessly must be fascinating for quite a few surfers. Although it wasn't his aim, after some time Sam received recognition from those who gave him professional assignments. Seems a like a fairy tale. The question arises whether such a phlog is an effective medium for the acquisition of work. The assumption that a website will bring an effective load of sales opportunities is based on daydreaming. A website on which one wants to sell photos or anything, which is not promoted one way or another, is like a nameplate on the door of any office, in a deserted office corridor. How would you interest the person who's destined to become valuable for you in your photos? Spread the link to your phlog to those who may pass it on, and on, and on, if small ads are to expensive for you. Try to get organizations interested like Photoblogs Magazine: http://www.photoblogsmagazine.org/ When you are mentioned on such a site, or any site, your fame may spread. When you had the luck to get an interview and show your portfolio to someone who you think may be important for your career as a photographer, then it'll be very convenient when you can give a business card with the url of your phlog on which all the photos will be posted, and regularly newer work. You even may add some particular info like about your personal vision, method of working, etc.
Here's a link to a catalogue of links to a kaleidoscope of the most varying styles of phlogs. http://www.streetphoto.fsnet.co.uk/links.htm
Sam's phlog: http://wvs.topleftpixel.com/
Wish you much pleasure!