UPDATE #2: Broken.
Since yesterday, when we published this post—the whole point of which is to link to imageatlas.com—that site has been working only intermittently. Not working, mostly. I haven't been able to get it to work since yesterday afternoon. Maybe they have very slim bandwidth and we're stomping on it?
It's possible it's related to the recent suicide of Aaron Swartz, the site's co-founder.
I guess I'll leave the post here, since it's gotten some comments, but...sorry for the...well, not "inconvenience," exactly; "pointlessness" might be a better word, under the circumstances. —Mike the Ed.
P.S. It's not Ken's fault...the site was working when he submitted the post.
Posted by Kenneth Tanaka
I recently attended a lecture given by Taryn Simon, someone whose work I've been curious about for quite some time. Taryn is a very energetic, ultra-curious researcher who uses a camera and her brain to examine seemingly fringe subjects which ultimately seem to tie firmly back to mainstream Earth life. Strangely, her work is heavily promoted within an art or photography context. But it's not really art in any expressionist sense. It really falls under investigative journalism.
Anyway, at the end of the lecture she demonstrated a project that she and the late Aaron Swartz had completed last year shortly before Swartz's death. The project is a unique search engine called Image Atlas. In brief, unlike conventional grab-all search engines, Image Atlas returns only images. But unlike, say, Google, "Image Atlas investigates cultural differences and similarities by indexing top image results for given search terms across local engines throughout the world." (Source: the Image Atlas About page.)
Rather than blather on about Image Atlas, I invite you to just give it a try. Warning: Don't start investigating it if you have anything urgent to do.
© 2013 by Kenneth Tanaka
[UPDATE #1: The Image Atlas site has been up and down, up and down today—first I took this post down, then put it up again when the site appeared to be working. Now it appears to be not working again. I think I'll leave the post alone and we'll see what happens to Image Atlas in the next 24 hours or so—if it's persistently down then I'll remove the post again; if it seems to be consistently working again I'll remove this Update. Very sorry for any frustration or inconvenience! I'll try to stay on top of it the situation. —Ed.]
[Ed. Note: Taryn Simon's most celebrated book, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, is on deck to be reprinted in April.]
Original contents copyright 2013 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Thomas McInnis: "I can wholeheartedly recommend An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar. It is a beautifully simple idea expressed so eloquently. Apart from the gorgeous plates (printing is really good in my copy), the binding is familiar to anyone who has submitted a Ph.D. or other post-graduate thesis, and I think it is the perfect choice. It is one of the only non-fashion photography books I have ever been moved to purchase, and one of my most loved. I feel it is the breadth of 'topics' or 'issues' photographed by Simon which makes her work appeal to the art community more than the journalism community. This contrasts her other work about death-row inmates, which feels more at home on the New York Times Lens blog than in a gallery. The only quibble some will have is that the photographs cannot be separated from their accompanying text without losing a lot of their meaning, but for me they worked so harmoniously that I stopped caring about that almost immediately."
latent_image: "I am no fan of Taryn Simon. She photographed my dying father without being honest either to him or my family about her intentions for publication. It really bummed me out to see her name mentioned on The Online Photographer. I'd managed to suppress memory of her during the past few years."