A photographer by the name of Mitch Dobrowner creates stunning black and white landscape imagery along with storm and weather system photography, also in black and white. When I found Dobrowner’s images I was inspired to take a more critical look at his website and how he displays his breathtaking imagery in order to get a better understanding of how I might change (or might not change) my website based on his.
When I first clicked on mitchdobrowner.com this is the front page I’m presented with. I was aware of his photography before I first viewed his website so I was quite happy to see one of his stunning images displayed on the front page right off the bat. It made me excited because I find his images to be incredibly thought provoking and emotionally stirring. The deep blacks and white highlights as well as overall image quality is so engaging.
The first tab I clicked on was “Landscapes” because I was interested to what kind of landscapes he was photographing. I was very happy to see that underneath each photograph Dobrowner included the actual location of where his images were shot, which, to someone like me, matters! As far as the overall style of the website goes, I would say it’s pretty “bare bones”. This doesn’t bother me because of how insanely gorgeous the images are, but it does feel a bit static at times. I really enjoy the stark black background to display his images on because most of his images contain a majority of middle gray in the composition. This makes the images “pop” more because of the immediate contrast the eye notices between the lighter tonal quality of the images and the dark black of the background.
The light blue that is being used in the menu and tagline areas as an accent color cheapens the look for me a little bit. The use of this blue without having any other trace of color throughout the website, or his photos for that matter, looks kind of like a template. It doesn’t evoke the same kind of tone that his images do with is contemplative, stillness, and awe. Additionally, the menu and navigational bar on the side shows a gradient from almost completely black to what appears to be middle gray, which again, I believe, makes the website look a bit like a template. This doesn’t necessarily denote a negative point, as website templates can be a great way to be assisted with design, but with Dobrowner’s imagery, a more elegant navigational display is necessary.
When I clicked to view a gallery of his images, I’m shown a page that looks almost identical to the main page with the exception of a small menu of thumbnail images of other images in this body of work that visitor may click or scroll through. There are small caret symbols that appear underneath the featured image which allow the visitor to click through to the next image in the series. These different options of viewing the series allow for the visitor to cater their viewing experience differently to what they would like to see, which I think is a really great touch. Having more than one of doing one thing is a really helpful to creating a website that almost everyone will be able to navigate smoothly.
Dobrowner’s bio page was informative, funny, and appropriate in length. I felt as though I truly got a sense of who this person is and what they find important in life. Dobrowner specifically made mention of Minor White and Ansel Adams as inspirations, as do I, which made me even more intrigued as to who this artist is. It also helped me to understand where his interests were both technically and artistically.
I sincerely enjoyed looking through the work of Mitch Dobrowner and his easily navigable and stylistically simple and understated website allowed his images to take center stage, as they should.