Tony Gibbs is a former academic, author, sound engineer/producer and photographer:
this website showcases his work in a range of media
I first built tonygibbs.org several years ago as a way of showcasing my photographs. In those days, Web technologies were relatively limited in what they could do and the huge amount of online resources that we take for granted nowadays simply didn’t exist. The result was a very simple site that attracted a fair amount of interest. Technologies changed and the site went through a number of upgrades, finally reaching a version based on the blogging software WordPress. This technology suited my needs since my online activity has diversified from earlier versions and now includes texts, slideshows and a blog. Putting all this together takes quite a bit of doing and wouldn’t be possible at all without the generosity of the many people who make the fruits of their labours available online free of charge. In a culture that is increasingly focussed upon individual gain, it’s heartening to see that so many people are still willing to put tremendous efforts into the creation of a product that has huge commercial potential and then just lay it out for anyone to use. I think it’s important, therefore, to acknowledge publicy what they’ve done and thereby what they’ve allowed others to do.
So a big thankyou to the people that created WordPress : this is the basic system that runs the SQL databases that, in turn, run the site. Another big thankyou to Kadence Themes whose theme “Virtue” provides the design, layout and content control of the site. These are the two key components without which the site simply couldn’t exist in this form and I’m indebted to the people behind them.
This new site went live at a time of change for me: after nearly 40 years, I retired from my academic post at Middlesex University and embarked upon a whole new set of creative adventures with a whole new set of photographic kit. The previous version of the website lasted for around four years with only minor changes until I finally got round to a revision which became a complete rebuild resulting in the site you have before you. But this begs the question “why?” Many writers and photographers practice their arts because they have something to say, because they have strong opinions and because they feel a need to express them. In younger days, I too had strong opinions and felt the same needs. It’s a pity that I didn’t have the resources that I have now. Perhaps it’s a part of growing older but these things no longer seem so important any more: what interests me now is to explore and observe and, when I find something interesting, to simply show it to others. And that’s important: in a frenetic society, it seems to me that one of the best services a creative person can render to others is to say “Hang on a minute, come over here and look at this – it’s really interesting“.
All too often, we hurtle past with eyes on the horizon and never see what is immediately at hand. The philosopher Alain de Botton once observed that the soul travels at the speed of a camel. Unfortunately, many travels today are undertaken at hundreds of miles an hour so, when we cross the world in a few hours, part of us is left behind and has forlornly to make its own way to catch up: all too often, it doesn’t complete the journey and so we are constrained to experience an exciting new place in the absence of necessary intellectual and emotional resources. Small wonder then, that we often return with a sense of mild disappointment. So that’s what I intend to do – to travel (in the broadest sense of the word) at a leisurely pace and, most importantly, to pause, observe and reflect. Who knows what may be just round the corner?