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slower.net, an Appreciation

There are lot of things I could say about Eliot Shepard’s recently mothballed slower.net, and a few things I could say about Eliot as a friend. Rather than drone on about both, I’ll just tackle what’s at the top of each list.

Eliot Shepard, from slower.net

If it weren’t for slower.net, I wouldn’t have taken to photography when I did, or with such zeal. Eliot’s photoblog (back when photoblogs had pictures, unlike this text stuff) was a dependable, nearly-daily dose of a world I didn’t know, but one that seemed eerily familiar. It urged me to keep going when I didn’t know what I was doing, and to do something different when I did.

Eliot’s site was that dreaded word: inspiring. Watching slower.net was like reading a book backwards by holding it in a mirror. Or like talking to your friendly neighborhood alien who’s got a great personality (and such big eyes!), but you can’t understand a word he says. Slower was photography with a capital F.

Eliot Shepard, from slower.net

A few years ago, I felt like I’d learned as much about what pictures could be from looking at Eliot’s fits, starts, and successes, as I did from looking at anything else. Slower.net was the ultimate work-in-progress; casual & friendly, frayed around the edges, but with a through-line of incredible drive and soul. And by being a loose, public edit, you felt like you got to know a bit about the brain behind the curtain; a mathy guy, quick to smile, eager for a chat with a stranger.

In a web of flash-based photographer’s portfolios, slower.net made sense with its simplicity, and wasn’t about the sell. Everyone wants to stand out with their new project(s), and show their toothy web facelifts, but what we all need are more sites like Eliot’s. Less style, more substance. Less sell, more surprise.

Eliot Shepard, from slower.net

Thanks for keeping the driveway plowed, E. You kept the wheels clean, cleared the slush and even scraped the tarmac a time or two. I’m not the only one eager to see what next looks like to you. Good luck with the new direction(s)…

Slower.net archive starts here.
Keep-up with Mr. Shepard on flickr.
I think about the oddness of this portrait once a week.

Tag: Reviews