What is SPR Images?
First of all, this new version of the SPR Images site is a work in progress. Doing it all myself took a lot of time and effort, particularly because I'm not a web developer with knowledge of coding. But I decided to build the site myself because I didn't think anyone else would be able to generate the content and that's a huge part of the challenge. So as the Home page makes clear, I decided to take the site live long before it's really finished. New collections, blog posts and other features will be added regularly now that the basic format is done.
In building the site, I had three basic goals:
1. Have a way to "exhibit" my photographs other than through shows at local galleries. While local shows are fun to do and provide a great learning experience, the exposure is quite limited. A typical show, which may hold 10-20 images, runs for about a month. There is usually an evening opening with artists present, and this is a good way to gage people's reactions to new work and answer questions. But the event lasts only three hours with, say, fifty people going through the gallery. There is more traffic after the opening, but artists are generally not present after the opening so there's no way to engage with people unless they take a card and send an email. This happens but not often.
2. Be able to offer much more information and insight than is possible in a gallery space. Each show I've done has included some brief description of the creative and technical aspects of the work being shown, but as you can see in the iPhone snap at left, there isn't room for anything else. Here on the site I'm able to include much more information across a range topics that people might have interest in like the initial sixteen listed under the three About headings. I've also started adding to the blog page with posts about photographic technique. These posts are not intended for professionals, but more for beginners and enthusiasts who want to learn more about what they can do with their digital cameras.
3. Offer an easy way for people to purchase finished, affordable photographic art to display in their homes or offices. You'll find much more about this in What Is Your Creative Motivation? and in the About the Images and Prints section.
This is actually the second version of the website. The first appeared about five years ago, mostly as a way to show travel and other photographs to friends and family. It was my first effort at site building, a slow and tedious process. I used the WordPress platform (very popular with bloggers) and a design "theme," Photocrati, that was widely recommended for photographers. With virtually no experience (but plenty of trial and error) I was able to get a basic site with a few galleries and a blog page up and running. But the more I lived with it and tried to improve it, I got impatient with limitations, particularly in the area of image thumbnails and gallery appearance. So I started looking at various WordPress themes and plugins, intending to start from scratch with a new site that would include better gallery presentation and an on-line commerce capability. After a bit of research I came upon a platform called Squarespace that many said was easy to use and had attractive design templates. So I decided to give Squarespace a try, and the result is what you see here. I probably could have gotten to something similar using WordPress and lots of different plugins, but I doubt it. For anyone considering a site-building project, I highly recommend Squarespace and their outstanding support team.