I started this website in 2010 when my wife and I moved from Illinois to the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to that time, I had run a website with two friends called The Windy Pixel (seems like a distant memory by now). When I started The Golden Sieve, I set out to have a little place of my own on the web to share the images I was making of California.
When I moved, I had a few spare weeks to explore some of the wilder parts of Northern California and to read lots and lots of Galen Rowell. I was smitten with both and endeavored to learn as much as I could from the golden state and from the books that Mr. Rowell left in his wake and to share those images on The Golden Sieve. The experience was a transformation in how I photographed and thought about photography and the few years that I lived in California sharing these images with you will forever be etched in my memory as some of my fondest. In many ways, the purpose of this website remains the same in 2014, with a few additional flavors mixed in.
The first is that I've moved back to Illinois for work and to raise a family. The time I have to devote to the types of photography that drove me to the ocean and the mountains in California are therefore more limited, but no less precious to me. In addition, I've found myself driven to produce wonderful images of my family and to share that experience with you. When I launched The Windy Pixel and The Golden Sieve, I considered the highest value type of photoblog one that focused exclusively on the kinds of images that drove myself and most amateurs deeper and deeper into photography as a hobby. For reasons I'll share shortly, I have started to feel differently about what makes a website compelling as a reader and also as a producer.
The second change I hope to implement is that I want to avoid the solipsism that permeates most photoblogs and the online photography community in general. I read a great deal about photography online and one of the things I find troubling is the relentless emphasis on self-promotion and professional photography. I like to call it the solipsism of going pro. Take a look at a popular photography website like PetaPixel or at a popular photographer's social media profile to see what I mean. Are best business practices for professional photographers or snarky articles about how Marissa Mayer doesn't believe professional photographers exist valuable to 99.9% of photographers? Of course not.
Here I ought to point out that our colloquial connotation of amateur as an inexpert- or casual-practitioner is in error. The original definition of amateur (first O.E.D. citations are from the late eighteenth century) is "One who loves of is fond of." That is to say: to be a professional photographer one must only be paid to photograph, but to be an amateur photographer one must love the process.
Amateur aptly defined, the purpose of this website is to feature photographs and ideas I feel are central to the process of becoming a better photographer. Here we are left alone with the intellectual sport of using photographs as a fulcrum to pry apart the way we process primary visual experience into memory by considering how photography taps into what Galen Rowell called "The Golden Sieve of memory." (If you don't know who Galen Rowell was, I recommend closing your web-browser and heading to your local library or bookstore to acquaint yourself)
About this blog
The Golden Sieve is a website I will update as frequently as I have compelling images or content to share. Going forward (it being the beginning of 2014 when this page was last updated) I'd like this webpage to include a greater proportion of day-to-day comments and thoughts. Photography is a way for me to gain first-hand experience in places of beauty. It forces one to be both participant and observer and to distill complex stimuli into a small, static frame. If photography is a path to adventure, then this website will be a path to think critically about photography.