Putting you in the picture

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Photography sites on the Internet have largely failed to take off, partly because computer monitors never really show off photographs to their best effect, especially after they've been scanned. America's Time Life magazine, however, hasn't let that distract it, with its stunning virtual picture gallery, comprising pictures from its own 20th-century archives. It's extremely good, with a huge number of classic images. Some of the archive is set up as a virtual tour, with a narrative taking visitors through a historic event, such as, for example, the stark pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the Second World War.

The site isn't perfect by any means. For a start, many of the pictures are reproduced at a frustratingly small size. This may be OK for some shots, but most of the pictures, such as a classic image of Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe driving in an open-top car, are just crying out to be presented in a larger format.

This is, however, one of those sites that warrants time spent browsing through what must be some of the most enduring and powerful pictures of the century.

While you're about it, take some time to look at Time magazine's main website (cgi.pathfinder.com/time) which is a superb example of how news organisations are getting to grips with the Internet's idiosyncracies.

Book early


The latest addition to the online books bandwagon arrived on the scene recently. BOL, which has a UK branch, has just opened for business. Although it doesn't boast any major innovations, it is well designed, well maintained and has an excellent assortiment of hot ideas on its title page. Ordering and buying books is as simple as on the other main sites, and, as it is based in Britain, the books are delivered promptly. Its discounts aren't as good as, say, Amazon - which has now established such a presence on the Internet that new players are going to find it heavy going to keep up. But the continuing growth of the online books sector means there is still plenty of scope for newcomers to find a toehold in the market before it gets too crowded.