PODCAST: A Photographic Conversation, Episode 248: With Bill Shapiro ‘Websites’

In the fifth episode of this monthly conversation series Grant Scott speaks with editor, writer and curator of photography Bill ShapiroIn an informal conversation each month Grant and Bill comment on the photographic environment as they see it. In this episode they reflect on what makes a successful website for a photographer and a client.

Bill Shapiro
Bill Shapiro served as the Editor-in-Chief of LIFE, the legendary photo magazine; LIFE’s relaunch in 2004 was the largest in Time Inc. history. Later, he was the founding Editor-in-Chief of LIFE.com, which won the 2011 National Magazine Award for digital photography. Shapiro is the author of several books, among them Gus & Me, a children’s book he co-wrote with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and, What We Keep, which looks at the objects in our life that hold the most emotional significance. A fine-art photography curator for New York galleries and a consultant to photographers, Shapiro is also a Contributing Editor to the Leica Conversations series. He has written about photography for the New York Times MagazineVanity Fair, the AtlanticVogue, and Esquire, among others. Every Friday — more or less — he posts about under-the-radar photographers on his Instagram feed, where he’s @billshapiro.

Dr.Grant Scott
After fifteen years art directing photography books and magazines such as Elle and Tatler, Scott began to work as a photographer for a number of advertising and editorial clients in 2000. Alongside his photographic career Scott has art directed numerous advertising campaigns, worked as a creative director at Sotheby’s, art directed foto8magazine, founded his own photographic gallery, edited Professional Photographer magazine and launched his own title for photographers and filmmakers Hungry Eye. He founded the United Nations of Photography in 2012, and is now a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, and a BBC Radio contributor. Scott is the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Routledge 2014), The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Routledge 2015), New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography (Routledge 2019), and What Does Photography Mean To You? (Bluecoat Press 2020). His photography has been published in At Home With The Makers of Style (Thames & Hudson 2006) and Crash Happy: A Night at The Bangers (Cafe Royal Books 2012). His film Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay was premiered in 2018.

Mentioned in this episode:
Saul Leiter: was an American photographer and painter whose early work in the 1940s and 1950s was an important contribution to what came to be recognised as the New York school of photography.  www.saulleiterfoundation.org
Art Streiter: Art Streiber is an American photographer known in particular for his portraits of entertainment and sports personalities. www.artstreiber.com. You can listen to Art’s contribution to the A Photographic Life podcast here https://unitednationsofphotography.com/2022/01/05/podcast-a-photographic-life-episode-191-plus-photographer-art-streiber/
Amy Lombard: Her bold and colorful work has landed her editorial clients from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post to companies like Puma, Google, HBO and more. www.amylombard.com
Jesse Adler http://jessieadler.squarespace.com

© Grant Scott 2023


  1. I was talking with my wife about websites because she is studying uix and webdesign and we were looking for bad and good examples of it and I remembered about your conversation I just listened because I follow Bill’s work. Very eye opening, and I can say that despite we are in 2023 now, and information is available 24/7 for everyone, there are still many people out there, especially professionals, who show work on shitty websites. Bad design, not clear information, confused. Every professional who want to build a website should listen this conversation. Good job guys, as always!

  2. Since the discussion was for the commercial photographer, do you mind talking a bit what website works best of a hobbyist (like me)? Thank you.

    1. I think we addressed that. The question is why have and pay for a website if you are a hobbyist. Free social media platforms could be best for you. A website is a marketing tool and if you don’t need to market do you need a website?

      1. A website is a clean way to present my photographs to viewers. No registrations required. I guess one could think of it as a way of marketing my retired name.

        I’m on Flickr and Twitter, nothing more (trying Mastodon too). Flickr supports Creative Commons licensing, and I like offering high resolution images to non-commercial entities. I feel very happy when students email me on how they used my images in their papers. My website links to my Flickr & Arabic blog.

        I’m not on Meta platforms (Facebook, Instagram, …), as I don’t like their sub-licensing scheme. Other social platforms (the tiktoks, snapchats and similar) are just too much for me 🙂

      2. I do not agree with you on this. So called amateurs can be and often are very experienced photographers that, in some cases, do fantastic personal projects. Think about Jim Mortram and the work he is doing. He started as an amateur and his long personal project is full of empathy and evolved during the years. I’m happy to be able to see his work on his website and blog. Not everything is about marketing (marketing=money), sometimes is about being proud of our work and of what drives us. Social medias are an enormous ocean filled with noise, instead building a good simple website is just about be proud of work that takes time and energy from our family and daily lives.

      3. I never said that amateurs are not experienced photographers just that before you spend on a website that you consider the cost. Thank you for your response

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