The Turning Gate
February 17, 2019

Hi Matthew Campagna,

We missed sending a newsletter in January, so let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year! Since last we wrote, we've been hard at work improving Backlight 2. In this edition, I'd like to catch you up on some of what's new!

Album Reordering in Backlight 2.0.7!

A small update with BIG impact, Backlight 2.0.7 now allows photo reordering within Backlight's admin. This change further empowers users to manage their images galleries without Lightroom, from direclty within Backlight's own publisher.

I've put together a quick video demonstration, Reordering Photos in Backlight 2.0.7.

This is an update we've long been looking forward to, and we're very excited to be delivering on it now. As usual, applying the update to Backlight 2 is incredibly easy:

How-to: Installing Updates in Backlight 2

The Lr Publisher has also been updated to play nice with the new feature, and can be downloaded from the Backlight Modules page in your admin.

Other Recent Improvements to Backlight 2

We also released the 2.0.5 and 2.0.6 updates in January, featuring many quality of life improvements. You can find the complete changelogs in the Backlight Modules area of your admin, but highlights include:

  • New slideshow options and improvements, including:
    • Color labels
    • Customize or disable the Thumbnail Pallet
    • Improved image transitions
    • Optional progress indicator during autoplay
  • New option to automatically redirect HTTP to HTTPS, making it even easier to transition your site to secure protocols
  • New PHPlugins examples
  • Support for duplicate file names in albums
  • Visual improvements in the Template Designer

And, of course, loads of fixes, hosting compatibility improvements, and more.


Here are two recently launched sites that have caught our eye!

Amitai Schwartz
A long-time TTG user, recently converted to Backlight 2, Amitai eschews bells and whistles for classic minimalism, allowing his colorful images to pop from the simple, dark backdrop of his site. Focus is kept where it belongs, squarely on the faces and places Amitai has captured.
Quatrain Fotographic
On the other end of the spectrum, Quatrain Fotographic is one of the busiest sites I have seen. Despite the design being packed tighly with content, however, Donald Werthmann has made excellent use of Backlight 2's responsive patterns to ensure the site presents well on both desktop and mobile devices.

Stuff & Things

Finding Lena, the Patron Saint of JPEGs
A fascinating article at Wired about Lena Forsen, whose image was formative in the early days of JPEG. What's more, this article is chock full of easter eggs and links to fascinating additional reading. A rabbit hole very much worth exploring.
How Kodak's Shirley Cards Set Photography's Skin-Tone Standard
This 2014 NPR article about Kodak's "Shirleys" -- color calibration models -- referenced in the article above, is also a great read.
How self-taught photographer Gordon Parks became a master storyteller
Photographer and journalist Gordon Parks used his camera as a tool to help the world understand the experience of African-Americans in the U.S. An exhibition is just wrapping up at the National Gallery of Art, titled "Gordon Parks: The New Tide," which examines the first ten years of his career. In this piece from the PBS News Hour, exhibit curator Philip Brookman sits down with Jeffrey Brown to share more about the artist's life and work.
500px Hacked: Personal Data Exposed for All 14.8 Million Users
You may recall, I bailed on 500px early last year when it was acquired by Visual China Group, the Beijing, China-based photo and media agency that’s known as "the Getty Images of China". I've never regretted that decision, and I'm definitely not regretting it now, in the wake of the news about this massive data breach.
Vox Darkroom: The Deadly Race to the South Pole
Vox has kicked off a new YouTube series, each episode delving into the story behind a single photograph. This first episode tells the tragic tail of Antarctic explorers attempting to be the first to reach the South Pole. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next from Darkroom.
Music Pick: World Order, "Big Brother"
I'm thinking to start including a music pick in each newsletter, because while it's not necessarily photography-related, I simply love music, and it's in The Turning Gate's DNA.
For this edition, I've chosen the new track for World Order, the Japanese electronic dance group whose robot antics have had me grinning for years.
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