I am Maven, otherwise known as Chris Austin, and this website is my creative outlet and online repository for my various internet projects.
With Aquafornia, my vision was to create a website dedicated to California water that would not be just another environmental, agency, or other special interest group website, but instead one that would encompass all of the various points of views in the complex and often contentious world of California water. As an impartial news-aggregator, Aquafornia provided a unique service to those who are interested in following California water issues but prefer to make up their own minds. In November of 2008, I partnered with the Water Education Foundation, who subsequently purchased the website in 2010. The website is now maintained by the Water Education Foundation.
My goal is to use the Internet to educate and inform citizens, as well as the water warriors of California. A lot of public debate about water in California is full of slogans and only a few facts. We can do a lot better, and one way is to join traditional media with the Internet, and social media networking --- with a little bit of adult supervision to make it work.
In recent years, I have developed an interest in landscape and infrastructure photography. While a beautiful picture can stand on its own, I think photos can be more interesting and powerful when they are combined together, and that has led me to my favorite format to work in: the educational slideshow presentation. By using full-screen photographs, diagrams, and other visual aids, I like to create picture-rich online presentations that increase the readers’ awareness of the topic, have more impact than plain text articles and utilize the many resources available on the internet. I have found that through extensive visual aids, even the more mundane subjects can be made to be interesting.
I prefer a slideshow to a video because it is self-paced and allows the reader to explore the material in varying depths according to their interest; even the casual reader will derive something from flipping through the presentation. The pictures tell the basic story; the text gives context and additional detail to the pictures, and links to web resources for even more detail are provided should the reader want to explore the subject further. I really enjoy using the power of digital photography to create visually-pleasing presentations that have impact, are educational and integrate the wealth of information and resources that are available on the internet.
Most of the projects on Mavens Manor are self-produced and represent my varied interests, which can run the gamut from water infrastructure to agriculture to geography. My projects tend to reflect my fascination the large-scale systems that are critical to our modern society yet operate out of sight. I also enjoy exploring the many sides of California, mostly focusing on the rural and remote areas. You can see where I've been traveling to on my photoblog at http://mavensphotoblog.com.
MAVEN NEEDS A JOB!
I am available for part time, full time or contract work. Click here to view an online portfolio of my work. Click here to email me.
AND LASTLY ...
Sharing information with people has always been something I have enjoyed and been good at, whether it is developing websites and online presentations, talking about water issues to schoolchildren, or training employees on software and procedures. If you feel I have skills you can put to use, a project for me, or better yet, a job! (I need one of those!) or even if you’d like to just drop me a line, you can email me at: chrisaustin (at) mavensmanor (dot) com. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn (just say you are my friend) and follow me on Facebook.
Thanks for visiting my website, and taking the time to read about me!