Big Picture  JUN 04 2008

Big Picture is a fantastic and dead-simple new site from boston.com. Each entry tells a story through high-quality newswire images displayed at large sizes; recent entries include a look at Saturn from the Cassini space probe and the daily lives of soldiers in Afghanistan. If you're frustrated by the tiny news imagery we get spoon-fed to us on the web, this site will be a welcome addition to your daily browse. Alan Taylor, the project's instigator, has a post on his blog about Big Picture.

The sizes of the photographs are deliberately large - taking advantage of the majority of web users who have screens capable of displaying 1024x768 or larger. The long-held tradition of keeping images online tiny and lightweight is commendable still - when designing a general purpose site. But one dedicated to quality imagery should take full advantage of the medium, and I hope I've struck a good balance with The Big Picture.

When I see quality photography consigned to the archives, or when I see bandwidth readily given up to video streams of dubious quality, or when I see photo galleries that act as ad farms, punishing viewers into a click-click-click experience just to drive page views - those times are the times I'm glad I was able to get this project off the ground (many thanks to my friends within boston.com)

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