July 7, 2008


I'm not much of a poser but hey, this one is cute I guess. Yup, I'm in scrubs for the first time in my life, prepping to be right there for the birth of my second child. After seeing this photo I almost wondered if I should have gone into the medical field. Nah.
Posted by Picasa

July 2, 2008

Building the "Look" (Brand?)

Here's some info about how the website came to look the way it does. It's a bit of a long post, but the story is interesting.
It took about two months of learning basic CSS and brushing up on HTML in order to craft a site that I like, and feel comfortable showing off to others. I learned a great deal, and found that good old fashioned experimentation is still a key part of doing art, even in web site design. I also have to say that my host, SmugMug, provides an amazing amount of helpful info and great starter templates. And now it's beginning to show some maturity. Finally!
The hardest part was the banner; it's the 80 vertical pixels across the top of the site pages that include the "Alw" initials. This was biggest challenge for me in developing the appearance for the whole site, since it pretty much establishes the brand itself, if there is such a thing for the average guy like me. Getting it right means depicting myself with just the right look, so people would see my art and work as I do. Not that easy, I'll say!
It finally came together with a simple black-to-white gradient for the initials, which have essentially become my logo. Adding a gray line across the bottom leant gravity, and reducing the "photography by al whicker" title to a low-key gray helped to finish the elegant and understated look I've been trying to achieve. By the way, the graphics work was all done in Corel Paint Shop Pro X2, and some of the earlier versions were done in GIMP.
Once the banner was done, the whole site took on a pretty cool look. Then the front page needed something to class it up a bit. Gone is the picture of an airplane with blue sky. It was nice, but it didn't convey the feel that I wanted. In its place is the new building-and-lamp image, taken in NYC, and an inspiring quote about the art from one its finest practitioners. Now the front page has class, but not too much of it (I'm not exactly the black-tie type), and the site is professional looking, and hopefully also still very inviting.
If you've visited before you may have seen a short time in which the entire site was white. It's back to black now, and here's why. I discovered an interesting fact about image display, thanks especially to my graphic designer friend who knows such things. It seems pictures tend to look better on a computer screen when surrounded by black, even though they look great on a wall in a white matte. Turns out, there is good reason. From a computer screen, bright colors like white throw a lot of light at the viewer's eyes. This 'light pollution', though crisp looking, makes it harder for the eye to focus, and may take away from the image's beauty somewhat. But when your monitor displays black around a picture, it's more like night; it's throwing off less light, allowing the image's colors to 'pop'. Really interesting stuff, ergonomics. :-)
So there you have it. Some thoughts on what went into the site design and color choices. I like it, but that's not the main reason for the site; it should be inviting to you, the viewer, most of all. It should be easy for clients to view and order prints, too. So send me your thoughts. Add a comment to this post, or add one to the Guestbook. I'm looking forward to some good feedback!