I tend not to pay much attention to awards -- a discipline made easier by the fact I don’t get any -- but now I have two and they’re so charming I thought I would share the story with you.
Every three months or so I type “kleptography” into Google to see what pops up. When I did it in April 2004, I found that Photoxels -- a site I’d never heard of -- had chosen Kleptography as their Website of the Month. They must have forgotten to send me the invitation to the awards ceremony, but that's ok, I was busy that month.
I did have time to look in, however, and I liked their content and layout and writing style, so I wrote to thank them. No response, but no problem -- I appreciate the value of disinterested awards judges in terms of fairness.
When I redesigned this website in July, I wrote to let them know their faith in Kleptography had not been misplaced and that it was still alive and evolving. No response.
A week later, I did my usual Google search and discovered they had chosen Kleptography as Website of the Month for August 2004. Too funny (and too flattering) -- two awards from the same discerning fellows in six months. As a Gemini, I'm naturally fond of things in pairs.
So I wrote to thank them and tell them I’d just posted a tutorial on modifying G-series cameras for infrared photography. No response, no surprise. But the next time I visited I saw they had posted a link to the article for their visitors.
They may be silent types but they have a strong sense of professionalism and style -- which you’ll realize when you visit. Trust me. Click the logo and see what MyKhanh and Yin are up to ...
And then there's StumbleUpon, which is exactly what I did. Where else am I going to hear: "His photographs have a nice girl-next-door kind of quality." Now how sweet is that?
If you're not familiar with the StumbleUpon, you join (free or paid, as you like), pick your interests from a long list, and then a toolbar appears in your browser that can be displayed or hidden with a keystroke -- Ctrl+F9.
StumbleUpon now sends more visitors to me than any other source. And because members can review sites, I think of them as a sort of People's Choice Awards... which makes them all the more special. You'll find a few of their reviews here:
SU: Tsunami Diary
My thanks to each of the people who took the time to write a review -- good or bad. It's time out of your life and I appreciate it.
Aftering visiting Kleptography, Chuk Trisko was kind enough to alert Shutterbug magazine to my existence. And they, in turn, were kind enough to feature Kleptography in their April 2006 issue on page 22. Click the image above to see the cover.
Shutterbug doesn't appear on Hong Kong magazine racks so I hadn't heard of it before. But the emails I received from people who visited my site thanks to them usually contained some reference to Shutterbug being one of the best photography magazines out there.
Certainly, it is rare to work with such professional people. They wrote me to say they would be featuring my website in their magazine, they mailed me a copy -- nicely wrapped and with a cardboard insert so the magazine wouldn't bend -- and they followed up to make sure I had received it.
They bring the same care and attention to their magazine and to their website. You can read their Kleptography article (second item on the page) and look through Shutterbug on the web before you subscribe.
Not an award so much as a reward for working with good people.
Scott Brooks, editor of Showcase Magazine, asked if he could use some of my mantises in an article he was preparing for their August 2006 issue. Before I could answer, he sent me a story he'd written about the life and times of a celebrity mantis, inspired by the mantis on the keyboard.
How could I say no?
One of the benefits of agreeing was having my photos laid out by Katherine Miraldi, Creative Editor of Showcase. The result is beautiful, and the sidebar about mantises is an informative introduction to these creatures.
The thumbnail layout is below, but for something readable, you'll want to download the PDF file. Once it's downloaded, double-click on the file and it will open in Adobe Reader if you have it installed. If not, you can download it from Adobe's homepage. Once it opens, you can enlarge the article to readable size by adjusting the percentage in the middle of the toolbar.