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Throwback: First Year of Uncommon Photographers


The photograph that started it all

I started this site back in 2004 as uncommonphotographers.net with a byline, Photographing the Photographer. I got the idea from a picture that I saw that accidentally included the photographer in the photo (I think it was a reflection in a window). At that time, I was amassing a number of digital photographs and just purchased a DSLR (Nikon D70) and was taking pictures with that camera very furiously. So I looked at the more than the 6,000 photos that I had and see if I also accidentally have taken photos that included me. I did have some – but those were intentional – starting from the pictures that I took of me when I was a kid (see the two pictures below) – to some photos that I took of me that were submitted to the Mirror Project.




My first selfie. I probably was in Grade 3, so this must have been taken in 1966.


Another selfie (although the picture was taken by my brother). I was first year in high school, ca 1969.

But I found some pictures of photographers taking photographs starting with the picture of a kid photographer taking pictures in the frozen Thorndale Beach.

And also this, the first photo featured in the site –

And this – the photo featured in the about page –

This site achieved some kind of notoriety – as it was featured in kottke.org – one of the oldest blogs on the web covering the essential people, inventions, performances, and ideas that increase the collective adjacent possible of humanity. Because of that exposure, I have had several submissions, including this first one:


This one was posted on 2.06.05 submitted by Bob Pittman. His wife captured him trying to catch that early bird in Ohio.

I looked at the wayback machine to see the earliest entry for Uncommon Photographers (when it was still a dot.net site) – it was dated Feb 6, 2005, a month after I launched it in January of 2005 in its own domain name. Before that, the site was part of my old meta site, tribo.org (now defunct).


First entry at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine which archives most, if not all, of the Internet’s content since the beginning of the World Wide Web. It’s funny, the dot net site of Uncommon Photographers is now a site in Japanese.

And so thirteen years later, this site is still here.

Here is a bunch of photos that I found that were featured in posts during the first year (2004-2005) of this site’s existence. I wish that still have copies of the captions, but unfortunately, the database from the original site is gone.

Shoot Out at 360Chicago


Last July 15, 360Chicago and Art.of.Chi organized a sunrise shoot at 1,000 feet above at the 360Chicago observation deck. So we went up there from just before 5 o’clock in the morning and leaving just after 6. I had to take a cab because there were no buses running yet at those times to bring me there in time for the sunrise at 5:30 AM.

But it was quite well worth it.

Throwback: Millennium Park on its first day, July 16, 2004


The structure didn’t have a formal name then, but people were already calling it as The Bean because of its shape. The seams of the steel panels that make up The Bean have not been polished yet at that time. You can clearly see the joints in the photograph.

As for the uncommon photographer, he is there somewhere. Taken on July 16, 2004 during Millennium Park’s first day of opening to the public.