Other Visual Wonders
16th April, 2009 by Brita Frost
That we are a culture rapidly being swallowed up by images is a fairly common anxiety. These days it is the image that stands accused of softening our brains and deadening us to the world around us. And if we really are drowning in images it is the internet that is often considered the source.
A visual blog is a fairly dull way of describing those blogs that post images side-by-side or in a running sequence, with little or no text. While the images seem to be posted under the guise of randomness, their selection is often far more considered. If the internet is the source, the visual blog operates as a sometimes sophisticated and sometimes rudimentary filtering system. Hardly a new invention, more recently visual blogs have exploded in number as software has become easier to use and image-loading times have sped up.
Just as the visual blog acts as a kind of sophisticated filter it also contextualises the image. Sites such as vvork, JJJJound and Jah Jah Sphinx are probably the best examples of this. While each is motivated by a different aesthetic, they all nevertheless reposition the images giving them new meaning and a new context. Jah Jah Sphinx, in particular acts as a kind of conversation, not only between a group of artists hell-bent on unearthing the weird, the wonderful and the obscene but also a conversation between the images themselves.
Beneath the apparent simplicity of the visual blog there is no doubt a level of sophistication and visual acuity. The general anxiety that a sophisticated and abundant visual culture comes at the expense of text and of any kind of rigorous critical thought seems to me misguided. While “short-burst visuals” are often associated with all that is lacking in our “declining” culture (ironically the design blog Speak Up recently cited it as one of the reasons they felt compelled to close up shop), a sophisticated visual culture, particularly one that is filtered by artists and designers has its value, creatively and intellectually. And surely, if people are taking it upon themselves to sort out the mass of images on internet it should come as a relief to all of us.
Other visual blogs of note:
FFFFound is an image bookmarking site, but has a similar motivation to visual blogging.
Design Observer posts a selection of the best images from the web weekly.
Tell us about it!
We are constantly seeking design information to capture the interests of a wider audience. Blog about anything that provokes discussion, catches your eye, will give other designers a kick.
Since this is a community site, please note that when submitting articles for publication on this site we accept submissions that are not deemed to be advertorial, self-promotional, commercially or sponsorship driven.