A personal website is one of the best ways to share your work with others. There’s no shortage of .xyz end users who know the power of a personal portfolio, like KarenJWang.xyz, ViceRoyal.xyz, and SoaLee.xyz to name a few. This week we’re taking a look at another accomplished creator who uses his personal site to document his years as a celebrated photojournalist and writer, TomDowns.xyz.
TomDowns.xyz is the personal online portfolio of travel photographer and author Tom Downs. In his career, Tom has photographed and explored some of the most festive cities in the U.S., and he shares those experiences on his personal website. In his photography projects, Tom captures beautiful cityscapes and their vibrant cultures. Among Tom’s more notable works in this arena is Walking San Francisco, a photo book guide to the city’s famous streets, grand hotels, and waterfront parks.
Another milestone of Tom’s career is his award-winning edition of the Lonely Planet guide series which focuses on New Orleans: Lonely Planet Road Trip, Blues BBQ. In the book, Tom gives readers tips on where to find the best BBQ in the city and how to have a great time by going off the beaten path. The book shows Tom’s cultural knowledge and knack for finding countless ways to have a good time in a great city. It’s also one of the works that displays both his writing and photography ability. The book has a 10 page, full-color foldout map that pinpoints where to find the best food, take in the city’s history, and dance the night away to the classic Delta blues.
“I wanted to create a personal website to showcase my work. Primarily it presents a selection of photos and images taken for publication, or for personal reasons, in color and black and white, on traditional film and digitally. I also include links to published writing. It is very handy to have material up online that I can refer people to.
For me, one of the advantages of the .xyz address is that my name was available, so I have a very straightforward URL that requires no explanation. What comes before the dot matters more than what comes after.”
– Tom Downs, creator of TomDowns.xyz
Tom also uses his site to share his books and articles on “cityscapes, booze, juke joints, and history.” In his writings, Tom has explored topics ranging from airport design to animated films. He writes articles with a personal touch, which helps to put the reader in his shoes and adds a unique emotional element. Sometimes, this takes the form of a story, like his article about taking a walk through San Francisco’s Mission District with a local mural expert. Other times, he shares articles about experiencing a city in a personal way, like his article about reflecting on life while crossing the Golden Gate bridge.
On his .xyz website, Tom lists many reputable publications as outlets who have featured his work, like National Geographic Traveler and the New York Times. He also took the photograph that appears on the cover of The Rough Guide to Gospel Music, an installment in the popular Rough Guides series. Tom’s work in his home city of San Francisco is so well-liked he was chosen by the San Francisco Chronicle to be featured in their On the Town series. In his feature, Tom shares his favorite spots to eat, relax, and get lost in the culture and beauty of San Francisco.
Tom’s successful career as both a writer and a photographer is easy to see when visiting his personal website. Collecting his works in one place online makes it easy for him to share them with friends and future collaborators alike. If you want a place to share your work with potential employers and connections online, follow Tom’s lead and launch your own portfolio site with a FirstNameLastName.xyz domain.