Bluewater Shore, cover, limited edition artist book, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale
I just noted the tweet by PDN that stated the New York Times is ceasing (aka go on “hiatus”) their photo blog Lens, which was started about 10 years ago. Perhaps the NYT wants to send out a trial balloon about stopping this blog to obtain the reader response to its pending demise; if there is sufficient demand it might stay.
I suspect that the Lens blog readership has been in a state of steady decline since probably 2013/2014, as the case with most photo-blogs. The photo-blogging started to gain momentum in 2008/2009 about the time of the Facebook and before Instagram and other social media that can be consumed at a glance (or a swipe). Thus photo blogs, like this one, actually required the reader to engage with the written content; a bit out of vogue with the instant gratification crowd.
There announcement posted by PDN:
“Lens, the photo blog of The New York Times, will stop publishing at the end of May and go on a “hiatus” for an indefinite period. Meaghan Looram, director of photography at The Times, announced the news today in a note to staff. James Estrin, who has co-edited Lens with David Gonzalez, David Dunlap and Josh Haner, shared the note on social media.
Looram says in her staff note that the decade-old blog was founded during a “different era.” She explains, “Digital platforms were presenting new challenges to the industry, and Lens provided one of the few dedicated showcases for photography. But since then, the means of consuming photography have changed and expanded. We believe that this is the perfect time to take stock of and celebrate what Lens has achieved and to give serious thought to how to better position Lens for the future.”
She says the goal is to have Lens “evolve into an unrivaled source for those who want to read about and think about photography” and “We want to reach new readers.”
Though Looram described the change as a “hiatus,” she also struck a note of finality. She bid “a final nod” to the producers of caretakers of Lens. She also said, “There will be time to celebrate Lens and its wonderful run,” suggesting an ending more than a hiatus.
Since its founding, Lens has helped boost the careers of many emerging photographers and also highlighted forgotten or under-appreciate projects from throughout the history of photography. Lens is one of the few photo blogs to pay the photographers whose work it features. Looram also notes, “Lens took the lead in guiding the public conversation on the increasingly critical issues of diversity and representation with stories that showed how digital technology has empowered a new generation of photographers.”
The annual New York Portfolio Review, which Lens runs at the School of Journalism at the City University of New York, will continue, Looram says.”
My assessment is that the NYT is struggling in how to make the Lens blog more relevant (aka boost readership); hopefully they will figure it out.
Btw, honored that my artist book Bluewater Shore did receive a notice on the NYT Lens blog. nice. Oh, and there are only a few copies of this edition left, so message me if you are interested; firstname.lastname@example.org