If there was ever a lesson about the need to ‘just do it’ and overcome delay it was this. In the course of a weekend I managed to update my portfolio website, adding new pictures, taking off some crappy ones. More critically I updated the website with a new domain name, logo and brand.
For a number of years I have been using an online name Silentstar. It was the original name for my website and a feature of social media on different platforms. The problem was that I never really liked it. Although ostensibly unique, it had the unfortunate quality on Internet searches about silent movie stars. In addition, I hadn’t established any kind of identity with it – the term did not mean a whole load to me.
So, when I received a regular reminder from Squarespace about the domain name due for renewal it actually forced a rethink about my website, what I was doing with it, direction and so on. That had been in the back of my mind for some time to be honest, as I haven’t put in as much enthusiasm for my photography in any serious fashion. I kept my Flickr and Instagram accounts busy for sure, but in terms of actively doing anything with that I have not made any serious forays into active promotion.
So the question was no longer about my domain name. Instead, I have re-examined my whole photographic reason for being.
Firstly, I made a decision that I wanted to change my brand. The Silentstar moniker had to go. So I started in some brainstorming for a replacement. I knew that what I picked had to be original, simple and have personal resonance. In fact, the personal resonance helps inform the originality.
In my photo stock I have a picture of a tree bent at a right angle. It was taken in Victoria near the small community of Nelson, just on the southernmost tip of the border with South Australia. There are many trees like that in Australia, caused by a near constant coastal wind. This tree though was prominent for being alone on top of a hill. I took a number of photos of it, but with digital and with film. I have a photo of me walking away from the tree, both silhouetted due to the direction of the Sun. I consider it one of my most iconic images (at least personally). It also reminds of my first couple of years of serious photography when I was taking photos of just about anything. I was a little excitable to be honest but the work was quite inconsistent. Since then I’ve become a little more serious and refined my approach, but I like to recall that pure enjoyment of photography.
I had a grainy film image of the tree which was easy to fashion into a logo. It is rudimentary at this point, but serves a purpose until I refine it.
So then I had to think of new ‘brand’ name to associate with the logo. I toyed around with different names based on the tree’s appearance, with terms like right angle, crooked, bent over (before realising the double entendre). In the end I settled on a shortened version of right angle – Rangle – and Tree. The Rangle Tree. I also found a useful dictionary entry that describes rangle as meaning ‘to range about in an irregular manner’. That seemed a good description of road tripping for photos.
New logo, new name. I began the process of changing various social media identities to reflect the change, including this blog, but also Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Flickr. I’ve updated the photo stock with newer photos, and got rid of some others.
There’s still more work to do. The metadata needs updating, along with improving the logo. More than that though, I need some solid projects to promote. The website can’t work as an aimless presentation of nice photos. That will take more effort, but I feel much better about the online branding as being unique, but having personal meaning. A few years of procrastination finally overcome, and feeling much better for it.
And, if you’re curious, you can see the website here.