Totally Cool Pix is an amazing resource of phenomenal photography, capturing compelling, surprising and inspiring photos from around the world showing current affairs and news in image form. The anonymous creators of Totally Cool Pix select only the absolute best photographs out there, offering semi-professionals the chance to submit their work in exchange for $100-$150, and proper credit on the site.
There are some staggeringly amazing and provocative photos showcased on 'Totally Cool Pix' including shots from the 'Harbin International Ice Festival 2012', 'The Funeral Ceremony of Kim Jong-il' and 'The Libyan Protests'. It's really handy to have a resource available like this under one umbrella that allows one to view images of big news stories etc that have been taken by people who know what they're doing rather than some kid with a smart phone. It means the quality on offer is always impeccable and this really makes the site worthy of repeat visits.
Functionality here is very good and the site is very simple and straight forward to navigate. At the Homepage, each image collection is represented by one single photo along with a synopsis of the content. They appear in chronological order and also display how many 'likes', and 'Tweets' etc they have had. Once the user clicks on one of the 'stories' they will be taken to a new page that houses all the photos and details for it. At the foot of every specific photo collection, users have the option to leave comments and to 'like' and 'reply' to previous comments, in much the same way one does on Facebook; a great way to get interesting conversations and even debates going around specific work and subjects. There is even an option to dislike items which is refreshing compared to Facebook who unfortunately don't offer such a facility. Besides these functions, there are all the usual key social media links in order to help one vent their enthusiasm about specific works.
The site has a great archive section that allows one to implement date specific searches. There is also a very useful section that allows them to search the archive by subject headings such as 'Animals', 'Entertainment', 'Politics' and 'World'.
Overall, the design and layout of 'Totally Cool Pix' is very good and presented to a decent standard. The white background is the perfect backdrop to the superb images on display, anything else would have only detracted and would have been a dangerous game to play. The balance between image and text is good although I'm not convinced that the black strips that house the white text are the best way to go. I think simple black or dark grey text directly underneath each image would have been cleaner and slightly less obtrusive. My other small and slightly finicky bugbear is the condensed font used for the main navigation and headings; it looks rather uncomfortable and squashed. However, it does work more effectively within the logo, which is very nice.
Maybe I'm just being pedantic but the only gripe I have with the site is its name. Maybe it's just the way things evolved but the idea of using the word 'cool' in a website name that showcases images that can often depict tragedy and disaster, doesn't really seem fitting. I would associate the word cool with things positive, not negative. Fair enough, one could argue that a photograph that's well shot etc and that contains provocative subject matter is great or really good but is it cool?
Anyway, name aside, 'Totally Cool Pix' is a great site that showcases some staggeringly excellent photography that isn't only good because of it's aesthetic appeal but also because it generally tells fascinating stories about a plethora of different subjects. I highly recommend taking some time to get lost in the fantastic work on offer here.