TITLE: Life Magazine Home Page

ACCESS: http://www.pathfinder.com/Life/essay/photoessay.html

Among the other publications' web pages on the Pathfinder site is that of Life magazine. Wired's Louis Rosetto found it to be the best web site of 1995 for its "really simple, visually appealing, really elegant" design. The site continues to have this minimalist style, allowing the photographs to be the focus of the site, as they should be.

This is truly a site for and about photographers and photography. The text associated with the pictures is there, but as anyone who has looked at the magazine in its physical form will know, Life is about photographs. The site primarily uses a slide show technique for its photo essays, using one page for each photograph and its caption or text. Possibly the best-looking example of this is the "A Mother's Life" photo essay which uses a quote about motherhood or childhood with a photograph of some parental interaction and accompanying text. The fonts and background colors with the black and white photos are stunning.

Other features of the site are the Picture of the Day, This Day in Life (an almanac of sorts with birthdays, a quote, and this-day-in sports, weather, and history), the current issue's photo essays as well as that of the last month, a store for purchasing coffee table books and dream house plans, message boards for discussion of topics presented in the magazine's stories, and a Virtual Gallery. The Virtual Gallery is a list of sites all relating to photojournalism including Life's tribute to Alfred Eisenstaedt, a link to a photo agency, and the Time Life Photo Sight (sic) which presents numerous photos from Time and Life issues in broad subject categories such as Popular Culture.

Loading time for all of these photographs may be frustrating for low-speed connections, but for the most part the images are fairly small. The best navigation tool for the site is the Quick Index which lists all available features by title with some description and is more comprehensive than the links on the home page. On nearly all pages on the site is a banner with links to other Pathfinder publications such as People and Fortune which can get annoying with animated ads running while the user tries to read. The banner is left off some of the photo essays' pages, but is nearly omnipresent elsewhere. Generally, the site operates well and is very easy to use.

Anyone interested in photography in general or in Life's particular approach to photojournalism will be well pleased with this site. It is also an interesting tour through parts of our world and sides of the news not often presented by other media sources.

Kirsten Tozer
Government Documents
Central Washington University
January 27, 1998

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