Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by motcon, Jun 23, 2007.
directly applicable to the state of current day photography
I just left a website dedicated to photography. One woman was gloating about a return from Disneyworld in which she and her husband shot 900 photos. She posts some because she is a photographer and wants the kudos. As Dr. Phil would say, "What were you thinking?" Whatever happened to having memories where people had to try to remember where things were and how things really happened?
And I wonder what 900 photos of a trip have to do with photography. And what happened to the concept of memories that exist separate from photographs? And what happened to the role of photographs in bringing out our mental, emotional and spiritual connections? And then what happened to the concept of a photographer as making a professional and/or artistic image worthy of respect and imagination? Why will this "photographyer" want to return to Disneyworld when it will be so cheap to just review the photos? For $135 plus shipping the "photographer" can have every single one printed out and made into scrapbooks or, maybe, even published works.
I think of the woman as a digital addict. When film is the medium, expense is often an issue so one tends to be restrained and selective. Some shots win. Others lose. Some get missed. And it is the missing images that generate or connect memories to the images that were taken. The end result should then be that people have a respect for photography on various levels. Whereas, I believe that the machine-gun approach to digital photography and the easy self-confidence that the medium promotes among the amateur will lead to a great devaluation of photography itself. Then amateurs flood the websites devoted to serious photography and the serious photography student will slowly fade away. Hopefully, it will self-correct before it self-destructs.
That is just my opinion.
Nice find and interesting. There are a lot of parallels. Not only journalism and the obivous, but the one that irritates me the most, wikipedia.
All of these things are merely the product of Post-Modernism, a movement some of us have been railing against for years. I don't think that the Internet has actually caused the problem, just highlighted it. Or provided a natural habitat.
The expense of film is what used to keep photography in a quality over quantity type mindset. When I went digital without realising it I would go out and snap off 400 average photos and be proud of my effort. It wasn't until a few months later going through a film album that I realised my new stuff was rubbish. These days even when I go on a trip, I will snap 20-30 photos, and they'd be of much higher calibre than back when I just started with a digital.
Someone who goes out and takes 900 photos is not a photographer, even if a few of the photos are good, and especially if all 900 were kept. The problem with the internet, blogs, flickr, myspace etc. is that people think that other's want to read their crap opinions. I know, I fell into that trap a while ago. After which I promptly erased all but the technical content on my site and stopped google from crawling it so that those who were interested could use it as a reference.
GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!
Garbz I believe that your epiphany is the sort of thing that will befall more individual who start thinking and understanding what really defines the terms photography and photographer. I believe there will either be a rebound to film or surrender to the concept of quality in time.
Thanks for sharing your experience.
I don't think the ability of people to shoot thousands of shots devalues or threatens professional photographers at all. The world is changing as it always has as technology as evolved. What it does is to force pros to change - which is why I suspect some of them consider this revolution to be some sort of final death act. There will always be a need for great photographers - people whose work stands out. Maybe this trend will sort out the lazy photographers from the rest though...
Of course it doesn't. There have always been people who have shot lots of pictures.
Back in the 70's I knew a guy who regularly shot 500 rolls of film a month. And he was an amateur.
What the danger is with digital is that, as so much of what used to be done by the photographer is now done by the camera, people get a false sense of ability. They think they can take a good picture when in fact all they can do is press a button.
If anything is a threat to the "professional," it would be the ability to catalog 1,000s upon 1,000s of images properly and make such available and accessible to the public cheaply (free).
How long do you think it will be before a program comes along and manipulates those 1,000s of photos into 'realistic' and attractive compositions? Fine art will be determined by limiting editions composed and calculated by analyzing your search and spending habits.
The new professional will probably be some mindless bog wearing a camera hat.
Your 'favorite photo' will appear on your screen as wallpaper at the exact moment it becomes your 'favorite photo.' Your walls will sense placement and size and order a nice print for you.
The initial smoke must/will fade away - be it 2.0 or 3.0.
A portion from the article:
As opposed to the 'fair and balanced' views from the main stream media?
It's a good point about stock photography. However if an advertising agency wants to use a shot of say the Statue of Liberty where will it go? There must be tens of millions of photographs of the statue in existence. The easier it becomes for the average person to point a lens at it the more bullsh*t some advertising executive will have to go through. The agency might want the best picture ever taken. Will it be possible for an amateur to take a photo so good it stands out above all the rest? I think it'll be difficult - the person who sells that shot will have had to have taken one of the best shots ever taken of the statue - better than literally tens of millions of others.
Software does make it easier to make bad shots into good ones. But surely professionals will always have access to better more expensive (and therefore out of reach to most poeple) software and equipment. Plus expertise and experience - which can't be bought. I could do with all of these things by the way...
I just don't see this has a threat. I remember not so many years ago hearing a similar conversation about electronic music. So many amateurs have access to excellent quality music production software. Has the professional musician practising in this genre disappeared? Not at all - I'd say their ranks have grown. It might be we have different porfessional musicians because of this technology - but not less. And, I would argue, we are better for it.
I saw plenty of hacks who called themselves pros when I worked at the pro photo lab long before the digital revolution, photo forums, and bloggers (although the internet was around). Digital is incredibly flexible and the instant feedback makes it fun so it's attracting more newbies to photography, but there has yet to be invented a more idiot-proof photo making system than C41 film and process, and that was introduced in the early 70's.
Quote from Alfred Stieglitz
"Let me here call attention to one of the most universally popular mistakes that have to do with photography - that of classing supposedly excellent work as professional, and using the term amateur to convey the idea of immature productions and to excuse atrociously poor photographs. As a matter of fact nearly all the greatest work is being, and has always been done, by those who are following photography for the love of it, and not merely for financial reasons. As the name implies, an amateur is one who works for love; and viewed in this light the incorrectness of the popular classification is readily apparent."
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