Getting to Know the Luminance Speakers: Alan Taylor, The Atlantic

Getting to Know the Luminance Speakers: Alan Taylor, The Atlantic

Luminance 2012 is a fresh new conference – September 12-13, 2012 in New York City – that will bring leading voices from every sector to explore the intersection of business, technology, culture, and photography. We created Luminance to ask the question of how photography is changing and how society is responding to that change.

The event will host two dozen top speakers from a variety of organizations that help to create, consume, and define photography in a myriad of ways. Each speaker will present a 20-minute TED-style talk on a topic relevant to their area of expertise. And starting today, we’ll introduce you to one speaker every week so you can learn more about their background, and get an inside look into who they are. We asked all our speakers to tell us what inspires them, where they see their business in the next 5-10 years, who they’re most excited to see at Luminance, and more.

This week we introduce Alan Taylor, Senior Editor at The Atlantic. Alan created the successful news photo blog “The Big Picture” for The Boston Globe in 2008, which he ran for two years before joining The Atlantic to start “In Focus“. In 2011, Alan combined his love for photography with his web developing skills to create this new platform for visual storytelling.


Where do you find inspiration?

From time spent browsing through countless thousands of photos. I am constantly amazed at how photographers manage to create art out of moments – amazing scenes that show a specific viewpoint and evoke emotion. From the natural world, and our continuous exploration and discoveries both close to home and far out in the Universe. From my kids and their fresh take on just about everything – and their native status in the digital world.

When people interact with your brand or your product, what do you hope they take away from it?

I hope viewers of my blog “In Focus” will feel as if they learned something – made a connection to a person, place, or story that was deeper than they might get from a sound bite or text snippet.

A snapshot of the "In Focus" blog homepage.

Where do you see your business in 5-10 years?

There will always be stories to tell, and storytellers armed with sharp minds and clever tools to tell them. As long as people want to see and hear these stories, my business will be just fine. The particulars of who gets paid, how much, and by who… that remains to be seen.

In a world where new businesses are starting up every day, what’s helped your business stand out?

When I started “The Big Picture” blog at The Boston Globe, what made it stand out was: Narrative (not a “photos of the week”, but a theme or storyline), large dimensions (accommodated by ever-larger monitors becoming common), anti-slideshow (all on one page, aiming for quality over pageview trickery), and of course, the amazing photography available that wasn’t being put to good use by many before.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

I learn so many things every day – things big and small, I can’t think of anything more fun than that.

Who are you most excited to hear speak at Luminance?

Joe McNally – I can imagine he has amazing stories to tell from his time spent as a photographer for so many publications.

Interested in learning more about Luminance? Get all our ticket and pricing information here.


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  1. Emon at 7:17 am

    Just learned of this conference and I think it’s ripe time something like this. Looking forward to Alan’s talk and the event itself.

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