Student life goes on the Net; Photos
accent DHS blog
For many teenagers, the Internet is simply a
tool to fight boredom. For Davis High School senior Michael Zhang,
it's a way to document his life.
Zhang, like many people, has
an online "blog," but unlike others, he updates his each day with
"Most photoblogs right now are by amateur
photographers, who share one or two photos on their blog every so
often," Zhang said. "I enjoy photography as art also, but my
photoblog is more of a documentation of every day of my
To keep visual track of his activities, Zhang takes
between 10 and 50 photographs on "normal days," taking more "if
anything unique or special happens." He doesn't, however, post all
those photos on his blog, setting the limit at 20; the extras are
filed away on his computer. He has had the blog since mid-December,
and has photos posted for every day.
Zhang uses a
pocket-sized Sony digital camera for most of his pictures. This
allows him to take it everywhere: school, tennis matches (he's in
his fourth year on the DHS boys team) and excursions with friends.
For the most part, his photography is unobtrusive: "I think a
teacher's told me to put it away once, but most of the time it isn't
a distraction to the class," he said.
His friends, too, don't mind the constant
"My friends and teammates think it's great
that there's actually someone who keeps memories that they can look
back on," Zhang said. "It will be a good way to remember all the
experiences after we've gone off to our different colleges and made
His friends do sometimes laugh at the habits
his hobby has given him.
"Since I always have a camera on me,
I sometimes do random things," he said. "I'll occasionally run
toward the sound of sirens or loud noises."
Zhang dates his
interest in photography to three years ago, when his family got its
first digital camera; he has never had a formal education in
photography. A section on his Web site, Michaelzhang.com, holds his
personal, non-blog photos.
Web sites are an area in which Zhang has
expertise. A few years ago, he made a "little personal Web page,"
and he continued to work and improve from there. Eventually he got
to the point where he was designing Web sites for paying customers.
Zhang purchased his smaller camera with money that he earned from
his Web work.
"Finally, I created a Web site that really
became a success," he said. "Around one and a half years ago, I
created Blogring.net, which is a community providing resources for
people who blog."
The community, a part of Xanga.com (an
online blogging Web site), has close to 200,000 members. For Zhang,
selling advertising on Blogring.net "gives me a way to escape the
traditional fast-food jobs most people my age are working
Zhang, who will be attending UC Davis in the fall, plans
to study business and work in a technology-related field. Whether
that will include Web site designing or photography is unclear, but
For now, he's a typical senior, finishing up
his last season with the tennis team, participating in his youth
group at church and spending time with friends and family. His
photoblog serves as one more method to capture the last days of high
"Before I started this, all my days seemed to just
fade and disappear in my memory," he said. "Now all my days have a
memorable title and pictures to help me remember all the good
- Reach Maddy Ryen at firstname.lastname@example.org
June 1, 2005