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New York Times launches Lens

Lens screengrab

Photography, video and photojournalism – the New York Times has just launched a new photoblog, called Lens.

I’m loving the fact that more and more newspapers – like The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mirror and now NYT – go beyond the written word and quick videos and have separate blogs on photography and photojournalism.

They’re all different – some offer a peek behind the scenes, a look at the work of photojournalists, some offer tips, others are more personal.

Lens combines most of the above, but also seems to go a couple of steps further and beautifully redefines the traditional notion of a blog.

The first thing you’ll notice is the fact that Lens is – perhaps understanably – much more image-led and image focussed. Big, bold, strong images, which are often in fact multi-page galleries within individual posts, are definitely striking. The ability to go full screen is an added bonus.

The second, beutifully executed thing is the horizontal navigation. You just browse posts from left to right or right to left without necessarily delving into them. You can switch from gallery to a video, or another gallery and you can just focus on and savour the images. If you need more, you can always click on the actual post to get the full text, comments, keywords and all the other traditional blog extras.

And the content? As the short blurb on the site says,

Lens is the photojournalism blog of The New York Times, presenting the most interesting visual and multimedia reporting — photographs, videos and slide shows. A showcase for Times photographers, it also seeks to highlight the best work of other newspapers, magazines and news and picture agencies

So far the posts are centered mostly around some fascinating archive material, but there’s also room for Pictures of the Day, photographers’ profiles, a behind-the-scenes video from a photo-op with president Obama in the Oval Room and a couple of essays, one of which focuses on images with ugly white plastic chairs.

It’s a beautiful blog and I’ve just realised that for the past few paragraphs I’ve been gushing about it. So to counterbalance my excessive enthusiasm, I’ve tried finding something to criticise there.

I couldn’t. I love it.

And so should you.

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