Our 4 Favorite Photographer Portfolio Websites of the Month

© Keith Arkins

Keith Arkins is a Dublin-based commercial photographer whose website shows a fascinating breadth of work, especially in the realm of renewable energy. Two of the 10 portfolios found under the Stills menu (there’s one for Motion, too) are designated as Wind and Solar. Instead of thumbnails, large screen-filling images are displayed with forward/backward navigation arrows. In Wind, Arkins treats turbines as sculptural objects splashed across a beautiful Irish landscape. Each successive image is jaw-dropping; like his photograph of a turbine being installed at night and then there’s an image of a solitary turbine standing Sentinel-like (for X-Men fans) on a dark, cloudy day suddenly hit by a shaft of sunlight. It stops you in your tracks. Arkins works his magic in Solar, especially with a close-up photograph of a large panel at sunset. He’s also brilliant when photographing people as seen in Business Portraiture, showing a sparkle of wit and ingenuity in how he approaches his subjects combined with the requisite skill needed to make it all happen. The Commercial portfolio contains a smorgasbord ranging from artful lifestyle images of people at work and play to a charming image of a group of preschoolers in green uniforms to a nighttime shot of a McDonald’s that is like none you’ve seen before. I was especially impressed by his nighttime shot of a Ford rally team showing his technical skills at full song. There’s much more here so be sure to poke around and visit his blog for a peek behind the curtain to see how Arkins creates these dynamic images.

Erik Christian (www.erikchristianphotography.com) has created a unique website that focuses on a specific project: photographing young ballerinas at beautiful locations in New York’s Hudson Valley and Catskills regions. The blog-like format uses geographical titles to identify locations where images were made with supporting text explaining what the shoot was like. The “Plum Point” post, for example, was shot before sunset at a park along the west shore of the Hudson River in New Windsor. The photographs made with older dancers are poetic and graceful, while the images of the younger ones are just downright cute. When Christian visits the “Caves at Rosendale” things get more unpredictable when he uses an old mine to create a fantasy reminiscent of Lord of the Rings, showing technical virtuosity in his use of lighting to create visually dazzling images. When he heads off to the “Falls at Spring Glenn,” he veers into Shakespearean territory with photographs seemingly out of The Tempest, combining the area’s natural beauty with portraits that are most Ariel-like. Once again it’s the youngest dancers who will steal your heart. When Christian moves to the Ashokan Reservoir, he shoots in dim light using wide-angle lenses, making his subjects a tiny part of the landscape, creating a new fantasy nature photography genre. Take your time, look around the site and enjoy a brilliant concept executed with a style and technical brilliance that will make many photographers, including me, wish they had thought of it.

© Erik Christian Photography

Minesh Bacrania is a Santa Fe-based photographer whose work centers on people. His boldly designed site uses the Format (www.format.com) platform and wraps his work in seven collections. I started with Portraits, which showcases his style of crisply photographing individuals with an emphasis on their individuality along with a sprinkling of wit. He wisely chooses when to use black and white or color and his choices only serve to enhance the finished portrait. His Ironworkers collection is all monochrome and focuses on the workers themselves and the gestalt of working on the high iron by using dramatic compositions, with and without people in the final images. Each approach emphasizes Bacrania’s technical skills while, at the same time, the finished photographs epitomize what you want ironwork to be—strong. Glassblowers contains images of people at work, too, but for reasons that are immediately apparent were shot in color, again capturing the work of skilled artisans by a photographer who knows his way around a camera. In Feast Day of San Ysidro, Bacrania moves into monochrome documentary territory with each photograph beautifully rendered; his apparent invisibility adds a W. Eugene Smith quality, enhancing the you-are-there immediacy that adds power to all of the images in this collection. Don’t miss Minstagram, a Tumblr blog full of images that continues some of his themes while providing insight into the photographer’s personality.

© Minesh Bacrania

This month’s Shutterbug reader-of-the-month’s site is by Michael John Balog, whose warm, welcoming design ushers you into a world of award-winning nature photography. Five galleries contain Balog’s still images while one includes video clips covering subjects ranging from birds to mammals. I can’t imagine a harder-to-photograph subject than a hummingbird but Balog seems to have the aptitude and expertise to capture these hyperactive, tiny avians. This self-named gallery is filled with captivating images of hummingbirds in flight, at rest, and even in black and white, with one jaw-dropping image of a bird about to land on a feeder. The photographs in this gallery can only be described as magical. Birds contains two collections featuring images of birds as large as wild turkeys, with each captured in their environment, like “American Dipper, Woods Creek,” giving a sense of place and even tranquility as if the photographer wasn’t there. Bighorn sheep may be larger than birds but I know from experience they can be skittish and Balog’s Albino Bighorn Sheep gallery gallantly captures them in situ. In Mammals, Balog gets up close and personal with animals as big as buffaloes, all of which are displayed in a window large enough to appreciate his depth of talent and the patience required of all really great nature photographers. For a look at how Balog makes these images, don’t miss his blog; it’s a must-read.

(If you'd like to submit your online portfolio for consideration in Shutterbug's Web Profiles, contact Joe Farace through his website: http://joefarace.com/contact/.)

© Michael John Balog

wittduncan's picture

Check out my website as well - would love to hear your comments!