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Time for a quick update on what’s been happening at Moore Consulting Towers recently.
It’s partly been the usual unusual mixture of writing, web work and photography – new sites are underway for a graphic design firm I’ve done a lot of work with, and a homeowners’ association where I’m doing some photography as well as the web development.
But I’ve also been lucky enough to have a couple of photographs published recently, one of which shows how good photography can get you better press coverage.
Just before school started this week, we headed up to Chama in northern New Mexico, to ride the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, which winds its way through some amazing scenery on its way to Antonito, Colorado.
It was a family trip, but I brought the camera and got some images that communicate something of the day.
I’m very happy to announce the launch of the website I worked on for Veterinary Cancer Care (VCC) – a veterinary oncology practice based in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
The site is a great example of the sort of holistic approach I like to take to a client project – I worked on the web development, photography and multimedia work to bring it all together as a consistent whole.
Dr Jeannette Kelly of VCC is a devoted and caring vet, and her practice has helped thousands of pets with cancer. Her website was out of date and didn’t really communicate the key message of the practice – that treating pets with cancer is completely different from treating humans with cancer.
The feel of the practice is warm and caring, and although it’s obviously a difficult time for clients, they were positive and grateful for the compassion and skill Dr Kellly and her staff showed to the pets under their care.
Since most visitors to the site would be coming after receiving bad news from their primary care vet, it was important to dispel their misconceptions and make them more comfortable considering VCC.
It seemed to me that explaining the treatment options and the qualifications of the staff, while necessary, wouldn’t be enough to counter the potential client’s idea that veterinary oncology was going to mean suffering for their pet in a cold and unwelcoming environment. We were dealing with powerful emotions here, so an appeal only to reason – however much it made sense – wouldn’t be enough. An approach that also worked to calm fears and make an emotional connection was also important.
Having spent time at the practice, I knew that the atmosphere there was warm and positive, and the animals loved and cared for. Dr Kelly herself encapsulated this feeling that was so different from what you might expect when you think about cancer treatment – she’s bright, energetic and funny. When talking to owners, she’s often to be found on the floor at pet level, bonding with the animals.
I decided to use documentary photography to capture the authentic experience of the practice, and then record an interview with Dr Kelly about how approach and how she got started with veterinary oncology. You’d want a vet who was emotionally committed to this difficult side of medicine, and Dr Kelly’s story shows she has this in spades.
The audio from the interview would be packaged with some of the still images and background noise of life at the practice, and we would use that on the About page.
Meanwhile, the Amy, Megan and Jan from VCC started gathering useful information and resources so the site would make a compelling emotional case but then back it up with practical information for new clients who need to learn a lot in a hurry.
VCC already had a good graphic identity and color palette that they used for print materials, so that was foundation of the web design. We also wanted the design to be calming, warm and welcoming – the feelings you get walking into the practice. So the use of serif fonts and subtle shading and textures creates a site that is clean and simple to use without being austere.
Looking to photograph authentic moments of what happens in the practice takes a lot longer than just staging some shots with clients, vets (and animals) all smiling at the camera. You have to be there, in the right place to make strong images out of what really happens. A little exchange between staff member and owner, or a pet suddenly licking Dr Kelly’s face are situations that you can’t set up, and if you miss the shot, it’s not coming again. But I feel that people can tell what’s real and what’s fake, and real images have so much more force.
The combination of a clear approach, good design, photography, multimedia and useful resources presents an authentic and positive view of Veterinary Cancer Care. And personally, it was one of the more rewarding projects I’ve worked on recently, as I got to see the great work that goes on there, and help them communicate what they do.
And the folks at VCC are also happy. Dr Kelly says,
‘We are delighted with our new site because it captures the essence of our practice and the hope we get from our patients every day.
‘David immersed himself in Veterinary Cancer Care for several days in order to capture the sights, sounds and perceptions of the clinic, and the website mirrors the feeling of our space and our philosophy perfectly.
The website design and photographs emulate the light, bright, welcoming feeling our patients and their people get when they come to see us, and our focus on hope and care is clearly the foundation for the design.’
You can find them at http://www.vetcancercare.com
I’ve been working with the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market for five years now – designing, building and maintaining their website, writing blog posts and photographing artists and their great work.
Their site for the last three markets had worked well, but it was built on an older content management system and needed some freshening of the design and more functionality before this year’s Market in mid-July.
I worked with the Market on a new design, aiming for a cleaner look and a wider main column for displaying larger photographs. The Market has a deep library of excellent images that show the real people around the world that are helped by the Market (I’ve taken some of these images – that’s one of mine used on the bottom-left of the homepage – but there’s a talented pool of other photographers who also contribute images). Being able to display photographs in a wide main column gives them more impact, and also gives more flexibility in wrapping text around images, especially for blog posts.
Another aim was that the site be easier to update. While I’ve written nearly all the blog posts in some years, this time round most were written by Clare Hertel Communications – the PR firm that’s also worked with the Market for many years precio de viagra en farmacia. Making the blog section of the site full-featured but also easy to use was very important.
Once the new design was approved, I planned the move to WordPress from the older CMS – a job that was more involved than for a more straightforward site.
The Market sites includes a blog, a news section and a section containing hundreds of artists’ profiles categorized by the countries they’re from, and the years they’ve attended the Market. WordPress by default only supports two types of content – regular site pages and blog posts, so I devised an architecture based around using custom post types and custom taxonomies to cater for all the different types of content and classifications required.
This means that adding an artist lets you specify a country and years attended when you’re adding the content, and then displays the content in the right place on the site. I also implemented WordPress’ ‘featured image’ functionality to automatically generate thumbnails and associate them with blog posts, news releases and artists. So adding a new blog post for example, automatically places its title and thumbnail on the site’s homepage without any direct editing of the homepage.
Then we moved all the existing content to the new site, and then tested the new version prior to launch.
The WordPress framework for the site now makes it easier for the Market to updated the content themselves, and also allows us to use some of the wide range of plug-ins available to add extra functionality. This is seen in the front page slider which displays revolving selection of banners. It’s also search-engine friendly and easy to add updates and patches as the WordPress core is constantly updated.
The blog area now supports captions for images, embedding maps into posts, and auto-generated slideshows.
The result is a site that has a contemporary look, a solid custom-designed infrastructure and a framework that supports the range of content uses the Market needs.
The work was completed in time for the busy build-up to the Market, and the site made it much easier than in previous years to add this year’s new artists, blog posts, news releases and other content. It also held up well to the large amount of traffic it receives around the Market weekend – peaking this year at over 4000 visits and 15,000 page views a day.
As the Folk Art Market moves into its tenth year in 2013, their site is a key asset in good shape, and it’s ready to support new endeavours and requirements in the future. I’m proud to have been involved with such a great Santa Fe non-profit organization for the last few years, and look forward to continuing my work with them.
The nice people at MIX Santa Fe – the networking and micro-finance group I like to think of as the hip offshoot of the local Chamber of Commerce – asked me to shoot their most recent event, and I was very happy to help out.
It was a party and awards presentation held at the Santa Fe Art Institute, in one the lovely courtyards of Riccardo Legoretta’s landmark building. Often evening events are held in dark hotel meeting rooms where you’re fighting with low light and loud carpets, but this was a joy.
With a bar staffed by the Cowgirl, serving drinks featuring Santa Fe Spirits’ fine local liquors, the party brought out an eclectic creative crowd. Santa Fe seems small, and you’re often running into the same people again and again, but this group refreshingly seemed to transcend a lot of the normal cliques.
Music was from DJ ‘jaro, and eats from La Cocina Doña Clara. Folks were friendly and the space gave me some chances to get some shots you wouldn’t normally associate with event shooting.
Thanks to MIX for the opportunity, and if you’ve got an event you need professional coverage of, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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I recently got an enquiry from a company in the Netherlands, looking to license one of my images to use in their new office kitchen.
As I mostly do commissions (for small businesses, non-profits and families) and some assignment work (for publications), stock enquiries like this are rare, and most of my images aren’t suitable for stock use.
But I have a few images posted, and they’d come across one of mine that they liked. Since they’re based in Rotterdam (one of the largest container ports in the world) and focus on trade with Asia, they were looking for an image of containers on an Evergreen shipping lines vessel.
A quick Google image search later, they’d found one of my images in my small stock library hosted as a quiet part of one of my sites.
They found it because I’d captioned and tagged the images accurately (and because there aren’t that many good Evergreen container ship images around apparently), and they got in touch and asked about fees to license the image.
Santa Fe is a town that loves its dogs. Half the cars you pass have canine passengers, and the love for the Humane Society and the dog park (not to mention the unofficial dog club that meets in Patrick Smith Park for illicit off-leash adventures) underline how important our pooches are to us here.
And to me, nothing says this more than the number of us who bring our dogs to work. I’m going to start on a photography project documenting dogs and their owners in the workplace. I’ll shoot some photographs, and then interview the owners about what its like having their pets around.
Corrie (our own dog pictured above) is right: We’re looking to photograph all sorts of dogs and all sorts of workplaces in Santa Fe – law offices, schools, stores, architecture firms, artists’ studios, non-profits, auto repair shops . . . you name it.
Workplaces are both public and private – in theory we’re supposed to leave our personalities at the door, but since we spend so much of our waking lives in them, our private lives tend to creep in round the edges.
And nothing shows this more than bringing our dogs with us to work – here’s a part of the family hanging out with us in a professional environment. I’ll look at how the relationship between the owner and dog changes in the office, and also how the office is changed by the presence of a dog. And it’s such a Santa Fe thing, I think the rest of the world would be interested in this too.
I see the project as having several components – one is the still images, which I’d like to put together into a show. Another component is the audio interviews which would be used to build a video piece in conjunction with the stills. Finally there’ll be a book made out of this, with the stills and some written text based on the interviews.
If you feature in the project, you’ll get a limited edition print of yourself and/or your dog.
Drop me an email email@example.com or leave a comment here, and I’ll be in touch. Corrie and I thank you.