I announced this morning, on the old VSL blog, that it's going away this Friday. If you have a favorite post or two at VSL you'd like to keep now is the time to download it. Still having fun here, with this less serious blog. Today? Looking at portraits.

Slow down. Make em big. 





B. with Olympus OM-1


B. in Paris

Unknown Parisian









Eric Rose said…
Beautiful portrtaits, but you don't need me telling you that. Why nuke VSL? Lots of good info there that can be found by those wanting to learn. Just turn off any commenting.

Sanjay said…
What was your thought process behind dropping VSL?
Hi Eric and Sanjay, Here is my thought process for deep sizing the VSL blog completely.

1. The best work on VSL gets ripped off routinely. I find my favorite blog posts reposted on sites all over the place and I have no time or interest in sending take down demands that will never be honored. And those are "for profit" sites... No VSL blog means no intellectual property theft. Within reason.

2. Anything technical on the blog that was written pre-2020 is dated and passé. It's not doing anyone any good.

3. With all the fraud and theft on the web I decided I needed to adopt a much lower personal profile. The blog gets between 3,000 and 10,000 hits a day and they come from all over. This spills over to me getting hundreds of spam emails that I don't want. This blog is next and then the website. End of the era of innocence on the web.

4. The blog takes up some mind share that I'd rather assign to vital, important thoughts ---- like swimming.

5. I might eventually want to compile the better posts (with some judicious editing) into a book that I can sell. No one will buy a book that they can read for free, on demand, on the web.

6. I know a lot of people think it's some sort of community I've built here but there are only about 50 people out of thousands who comment on a regular basis and it feels strange to write a bunch of stuff for free for a bunch of strangers I will never meet. But I'm happy it's made their coffee time in the morning more enjoyable.

7. I have always meant for the blog to be enjoyed as a flow of ideas not as a library or an archive. They are thoughts of the moment."Read them and move on" sort of thing.

8. I thought shutting down the comments on VSL would alleviate the chatter and sometimes shitty feedback I inevitably get. It hasn't. People now just bitch at me on my gmail account. I hate wading through nasty comments directed at me. So, if there's no blog there's nothing for them to complain about.

9. Photography as described from 2009-2020 on the blog no longer exists so it's no longer relevant but people still insist in writing me to disagree about something like "You are wrong about m4:3 --- asshole. You said...blah, blah blah in your post on October of 201x and you are wrong!!!!" Cutting off the source of material will hopefully cut out the momentum of something that seems to exist on its own steam.

10. Finally, I've come to regret the time I've spent with the blog since it was time I could have been shooting, swimming, drinking great wine, hanging out with friends and not playing pickle ball. It seemed smart in 2009-2010 when I was actively promoting the books but downright stupid to continue past that. It's never been a resource that actual clients are interested in.

And, mostly because I make snap decisions and this is one of them. You two know how to get in touch with me as do most of the civilized people I've "met" on the blog. We can chat. But don't ask me to resurrect the blog or whatever. I won't do it.

Hugs and kisses, Kirk
Should be "deep sixing" the blog. I also hate Google's spell check. It makes me look dumb.
Andrea Bellelli said…
Well, Kirk, VSL has made a pleasant reading for several years, thank you for sharing! It was a gift and one cannot complain when a gift ends. I'll follow you on Instagram (I think I'm already following): see you there!
Andrea. We are still writing for this blog. It will be up for a while. Stay and enjoy. Thanks for taking time to write. KT
dpm said…
I saw the post on VSL, it said, "I am effectively retiring from blogging." I hope that's not true...I'm the owner of a Sigma fp, thanks to you and Mike J., and I just traded a bunch of gear to purchase a Leica SL. Your insights regarding gear, especially your experiments with adapted lenses and non-mainstream cameras, have changed my experience as an amateur photographer. Insights about the world of photography are increasing hard to find, and what you write about, and how you write it, make a big difference to me. I hope you decide to keep going here at GroundZero Art.
Dr. Nick said…
Too bad, I’ve enjoyed the VSL for a long time. Like when dpreview was going to end, I think you’re underselling the value of a snapshot of photography as it changed in the 2000s-2020s. Even the technical stuff. I have kept a bunch of my old Pop Photos and American Photos in a box for similar reasons, it’s fun to go back and look at things. I understand it’s not fun when you have to spend time actively managing ne’er do wells though.

Thanks for the good reads over the years!
rickt183 said…
Well Kirk all I can say is thank you for VSL. It sure was nice for those of us who like to read and not just watch videos. It was also very cool getting the thoughts of an actual working photographer and not just another one of the zillion professional gear reviewers out there who never actually shoot. I appreciate you and your work.
Norm said…
Kirk, VSL has been enjoyable for a long time for this (former, now) reader and author of the occasional comment. It’s been a source of lots of interesting information, stimulated some explorations of approaches to photography (not a swimmer, but appreciate the commitment and effort, and that’s often entertaining), and has indeed gone well with my second cup of drip coffee in the morning. That said, while I appreciate this new site/blog, please know that I don’t think it’s your job to keep me entertained or even diverted from the daily depressing/horrifying “breaking news.” While I have had the luxury of being my own patron for many years and haven’t had to regularly produce images for my rent or for anyone’s pleasure, other than my own, you continue to afford me a perspective that has helped me take a look at my own work. I would be happy to continue reading your thoughts, commenting when I feel like it, and maybe buy you a cup of coffee some day.
Anonymous said…
I kinda figured that VSL's days were numbered when you started the new blog, so not surprised. However, I am still surprised (but shouldn't be) by the nastiness and vitriol online. Needless to say, I don't get it. If you don't like something, don't read it - why go sending a nasty email or comment to a stranger who posted it?

In any case, there were a few VSL posts (ok, more than a few) that were well worth saving, but I'll wait till you put them in a book! But feel free to re-post more portraits from VSL to this site! Like the ones you posted above, or like the portrait topping this post: https://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2024/01/just-in-numbers-tell-all-world-famous.html

Thanks for posting all that time - and continuing to do so. I'll keep reading as long as you keep posting. And I'll wish you well and move on when you're done.

Norm said…
Kirk, VSL has been a source of a good deal of information and an enjoyable read for this long time (and now, former )visitor to the blog and author of the occasional comment. While I have had to good fortune to be my own patron over the years, and haven’t had to produce images for others’ pleasure or use, to pay the rent or meet a deadline, your writing has often given me some perspectives that have allowed me to take a fresh look at my own work. It’s also gone well with that second cup of funnel drip coffee in the morning. That said, it’s not your job to have to keep me entertained or diverted from the morning “breaking news.” I am enjoying the new blog and look forward to continuing to follow it, commenting when I feel like it, as long as you are willing to produce it and maybe buy you a cup of coffee someday, if I’m in town.
Joel Bartlett said…
I've enjoyed your previous blog over the years (and even occassionally followed your advice). I heartily agree with your reasons for closing it down. I look forward to reading you here until you put down your pencil.
Bob said…
Difficult to follow all of these commenters here, other than to say that your writing was really a help to me back during the pandemic and during my on and off again affair with photography. I’m enjoying the new blog and will definitely look for a VSL book in the future. Thanks!
Merle said…
Been thinking about this. I have limited experience in blog posts, mostly Wordpress, so take suggestions for what they are.

Maybe make a landing page that doesn't have any posts on it. Leave that page searchable, if you want it to be, but also set it so the spiders can't follow the links.

Set your posts page so it is not searchable (won't show up in a Google search, for example).

Then restrict each post from being searched as well. May be able to do this in the settings of your site. May be able to do this as a default for all posts, but probably have to do it each time.

Additionally, maybe simply take down or remove old posts (leave them up for two weeks? a month?). That would give those of us that follow you closely time to catch up after a vacation or whatever. I just looked and WP doesn't seem to let me set an end time for a post, sadly, nor a default demise. Whatever you're using may or may not.

Anyway, just some things to think about and/or research further. If you have any support for your site, they might be willing to assist.