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Paul S. Amundsen 6/28/00 Description:
The Norwegian photojournalist exhibits his works.
I admire the ability to capture people and their environment through the lens - it's a true art that few do well. Norwegian photojournalist Paul Amundsen definitely has the knack. The simple site design is elegant and refined - the black background is perfect for displaying his extraordinary black and white photos. Several "photo stories" have accompanying text in Norwegian only, but my lack of understanding the words in no way stopped me from understanding the stories - great pictures do that. "Life in the valley" probably demonstrates best what I meant by the "ability to capture people and their environment" and the "portraits" section is also outstanding in that regard. There's three other sections here, including a selection of color photographs, and they're all good. I like the content, presentation and effective design - today's winning site is one of the best galleries of photojournalism I've seen lately - thanks Paul.
hit-or-miss 6/25/00 Description:
the weblog and personal journal of Matthew Kingston
As soon as I hit the home page, I'm interested. I immediately notice the images with personality at the top - a "new windows" checkbox and a "preferences" link on the sidebar. It looks like a weblog/journal sorta thing, but there's a complete personal site here... good content, excellent usability and some pretty cool programming savvy. Matt seems very interested in how the web works and the potential for making the user experience even better. His open letter to Blogger not only calls for them to consider implementing a "native-comments system", but he takes the time to get into the technical side of it in considerable detail. You see a guy who knows what he's talking about being proactive about improving an already amazing web tool - there's an obvious love for the medium behind it all. So - the weblog - in the last few days, he's talked about comments systems, his new apartment, coins, gender stereotypes, cell phones and things related to his being a residence hall director - diverse and interesting content. And - that proactive attitude of Matt's comes out again in his "web queeries" and "glbt weblogs" sections. He's also got a webcam thing going and makes the site available in Palm and XML-RRS versions. I like Matt and I like his site... and I just met him today!
urbanize.org 6/16/00 Description:
reclaiming the city (mature content)
There's people who insist that digital art is not art at all - that it's silly and superficial, blah blah blah... and street art a/k/a graffiti gets the same kinda bum rap. Well, kiddies, the web has changed all that - the stuffed shirts who wanna dictate what art is simply have to step aside sometimes 'cause the web makes it clear that art is what artists decide it is. When you move about your environment with an open mind, you might get the feeling that everything around you is art - sights, sounds, words, and people - commercial, non-commercial, old media, new media - it's all part of culture - it's all art. Today's winning site presents several simple collages of street art, some of it "culture-jamming", though most of it appears to be graffiti with attitude, but not necessarily "anti-commercial." I like the design - the collages are presented in a window that scrolls horizontally which works well here. I'm not sure about the navigation, though - it is easy to get around, but once you enter the site, you need to launch a little popup each time you want to change sections - I'm convinced that many users don't like that sort of thing, but like I said, keeping an open mind may be in order. The art on display is interesting to me - I like it and really don't care who wins the argument as to whether it's art or not - if some people find it thought-provoking and interesting (as I did), then it's creative and meaningful to some degree. (mature content)
prolific 2000 6/14/00 Description:
in the port of amsterdam..."the magical web. It swept me up and pulled me in"
The producer of today's winner is not new around here. She's also the spirit behind croon, a collaborative gem, which won the Best of the Cool back in December, 1998. I learned just recently that Caroline was behind several other sites, today's winner being one of them. This is a really good weblog...the design is light and subtle - vibrant color scheme - cool page backgrounds and nice touches of style in the form elements. She had an entry Tuesday about Yahoo! that I could really relate to...it's one of those all so typical stories about trying to communicate with big corporate portals who aren't paying attention to people. I like her writing style and the variety of things she talks about - it's her personality which I find really interesting here - the message on her about page says it sweet and simple - the web is magic to her and it changed her life. I also like the fact that Caroline included a search engine - instead of just giving the user an archive to browse - it's nice to find all her entries about a single topic so easily. Bright spots like today's winning site are what make the web so special to me - Caroline's one of the high-spirited people who keep reminding me about the medium's true potential.
The Alternative Museum 6/10/00 Description:
provides a global forum where all nations celebrate and embrace their artistic and cultural differences
Today's Best of the Cool winner does not exemplify my typical pick - I actually enjoyed a daily pick from PooPooPortal and you know what that means, kiddies - today's winner has a store but I'm gonna overlook that ('cause it supports this unique project). This site has so much going for it that I'll gladly deviate from my usual criteria in the interest of assuring that you know about it. Brought to you by a "not-for-profit arts institution founded in 1975" located in New York's SOHO district, their positive mission is clearly stated. It's about using the power of the web to reach a global audience - it's about contemporary arts media and supporting the development of digital and web-based art as important parts of today's art world. The site design is exceptional and the exhibitions are wonderful. This is powerful use of the medium presenting web-based, digital, and non-digital art - the quality of the presentation is outstanding - there's a lot more here than the exhibitions, too. This is a real museum - it's been around for 25 years and the web has brought it into our homes quite well, thank you!
onfocus 6/5/00 Description:
absent minded digital recreation
It's not your typical blog. I was impressed by all the photos and many of his interesting entries are greatly enhanced by the visual treats. "As you may have noticed, I like to take pictures" he tells us on the "about" page, and I've gotta tell you, the photos are what really caught my attention - great California views - he likes to hike around and capture the scenery for us. All pages have photo elements in the background and his section called "visualize" has some colorful digital art along with more photos. There's subtle touches of his programming savvy, too, like random page titles and descriptive phrases. Creative personal webspaces like today's winner sometime make me feel "I am one with the Internet" too.