This site has existed in its two incarnations since 2002. Up until 2013, there was Conscientious, and in 2013 it morphed into what now is CPhMag. The overall look changed a few times as the site evolved and new types of content were added. Truth be told, some of the changes weren’t just cosmetic. Even before the 2013 do-over, Tim Gasperak had helped me make the blog operate a lot more intelligently. And when I say “help” I really mean that he did the technical work after we had discussed what the functionality might be, both based on what I envisioned and on what was technically feasible. Tim has really had a huge impact on the site, and I can’t thank him enough for all his work.
If you visit CPhMag regularly, you know the focus is on long-form writing (for everything else, there’s Twitter, Instagram, or whatever else). Up until a few days ago, there was a simple Archive, a list of all the articles, plus at the bottom, you’d be sent to the old site. But with over a decade of material, I always thought there ought to be a better way to access what’s there. I’m intensely pleased to say that now, that access is available.
You might not have noticed that the CPhMag front page looks very slightly different. But there actually are a few more changes that, I hope, will make access to the site and its archive a lot easier and convenient (under the hood, the overall machinery got vastly updated). To begin with, there’s a Search function in the form of the loupe symbol at the top right. Click on that, type in your search terms, and you’ll get the results.
If you click on Archives, you’ll be taken to a set of new pages, which offer a variety of ways of accessing existing content. Articles gives you a list of the material on CPhMag, going all the way back to 2013. Unlike before, where there was one long list, the listing now is paginated in the form of cards — a lot more pleasing to the eye.
The second tab, Topics, offers an index loosely modeled in what you might find at the end of a book. There is a group of larger topics, each of which contains a series of subtopics. Each subtopic contains at least one article, often more than one. Before Tim created this new listing, this index existed as a static page that I maintained by hand, and it wasn’t even linked to from the main site. Now, the listing is updated automatically, and it’s right there at your finger tips. While Articles only contains post 2013 material, Topics includes links to relevant articles on the old site.
The third tab, Conversations, takes you to an alphabetical listing of all the interviews I have done over the years. There are 129 of them (if I counted this correctly), and maybe there are quite a few that you didn’t even know existed.
One of the reasons why having these different Archives pages available is my belief that even on the internet, where one listicle (or photoland scandal) chases the next, there is value in something that was published a year ago or more. It’s not that I believe that everything I publish has value — I hope it does, but that’s not for me to decide. The internet’s chase for the new diminishes everything that is, well, not new. That’s not good. Just because an interview is one year old it’s not any less interesting than one published a day or a week ago.
At times I find myself in disagreement with my younger self, even though I still see the validity of (or maybe the reasons for) what I wrote in the past. I find running into such cases as irritating as interesting: it’s a mix of “was I really thinking that?” and “I can see how I might have learned something” to “I wonder what I’ll think about this in ten years.”
My personal reaction aside, I do hope that such instances will be instructive also for readers. After all, there is no such thing as the truth about photography. The best one can hope for is a truth, which, hopefully, is well informed and can sit alongside other truths (we don’t always have to agree on everything), and which might also be replaced by another truth a few years down the line.
I really hope that you, the reader, will find these new tools available for you useful. It should make navigating the site a lot easier, and maybe there are a few discoveries or re-discoveries.