How the public - and industry - sees photographers

The_Traveler

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First the CEO of Flickr says there are no professional photographers, then the Chicago Sun Times lays off its entire photography staff and gives reporters I-phone photography lessons. Has the world gone mad?

No clearly, what we, as photographers, failed to realize was how the rest of the world viewed what we do.
Honestly, most people don't give a crap.
They, everyone else, can get decent pictures using intelligent cameras and make cheap prints virtually anywhere and the distinction between OK and terrific is invisible to most people.

This was made even clearer to me this past weekend when I went to an 'art' fair in Frederick, MD. This was not a particularly high level fair but most of the booths showed arts and crafts a bit above the average.

The photography on the other hand ranged from burn-out-your-eyes horrible to OK (with one quite good exception.) There was an emphasis on tricks - large over done HDRs printed on canvas, pictures with the saturation turned up to 11, pictures where the camera was intentionally joggled during exposure - every conceivable and awful photo technique you can conceive of - and a couple of new ones added in.
These booths were getting a fair amount of traffic - and it seemed sales.

There is no escaping the fact that photography, like the movies and books and tv, is pandering to the tastes of the tasteless. I'm sort of happy I'm not a photographer who is trying for retail sales as an income and has to compete with that other 'stuff'.

(The was one photographer who was terrific and deserves a mention - Steven l. Miller (SLMphoto.com) showed lots of well seen and well done B&Ws. I hope he did well but this was clearly a bit of class submerged in a flood of crap.)
 
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cgipson1

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I agree totally... (the rest of my post was deleted... as it would probably offend someone!)
 

Tony S

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Those that can't adapt and change with the times will disappear with the times. To be successful you need to stay ahead of the pack, find your niche and excel at it.

Or just keep it as a hobby and have fun with it.
 

runnah

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Chalk it up to the same reason Budwieser is the number one beer in america.

Some prefer a fine craft brewed stout and an aged prime cut steak and some like taco bell and a 30 pack of bud light.
 

amolitor

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It seems a bit arrogant of us (and I use the second person here quite deliberately) to declare that the masses are "wrong" here.
 

runnah

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It seems a bit arrogant of us (and I use the second person here quite deliberately) to declare that the masses are "wrong" here.

I can see that point of the issue but at the same time it's also most our duty to keep the "art" alive if you will. But on the flip side the "masses" do support our side of things. If nikon wasn't selling a boat load of entry level camera would they even be able to make new pro grade cameras?
 

Alex_B

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It seems a bit arrogant of us (and I use the second person here quite deliberately) to declare that the masses are "wrong" here.

There is no wrong or right.

There are only markets and market demands.

And markets are changing ... and always have been. The only chance is to adapt, if demand in your market segment changes ... or leave.
 

amolitor

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There's always tension between "zee arteests" and hoi polloi. Through this tension, and other stuff, art evolves. I think.
 

cgipson1

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It seems a bit arrogant of us (and I use the second person here quite deliberately) to declare that the masses are "wrong" here.

SAT scores are lower than they have ever been... nothing "WRONG" there! Average Scores for SAT Tests Drop | PBS NewsHour | Sept. 25, 2012 | PBS

Drug and Alchohol abuse are going crazy... nothing "WRONG" there! Prescriptions for alcohol addiction soar by 70% in the last decade | Mail Online

Violent crime increasing! Nothing "WRONG" there! U.S. violent crime up for first time in years - CNN.com

Sure... let the "masses" rule... Grab a beer... watch a little reality TV.. everything will be just fine! ;)

( and yea.. I know... I selected just the links I needed to make my point... isn't that the standard accusation around here? lol!)
 
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runnah

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It seems a bit arrogant of us (and I use the second person here quite deliberately) to declare that the masses are "wrong" here.

SAT scores are lower than they have ever been... nothing "WRONG" there! Average Scores for SAT Tests Drop | PBS NewsHour | Sept. 25, 2012 | PBS

Drug and Alchohol abuse are going crazy... nothing "WRONG" there! Prescriptions for alcohol addiction soar by 70% in the last decade | Mail Online

Violent crime increasing! Nothing "WRONG" there! U.S. violent crime up for first time in years - CNN.com

Sure... let the "masses" rule... Grab a beer... watch a little reality TV.. everything will be just fine! ;)

 
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TCampbell

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And are you now going to recommend a bridge off of which I should jump too?

Actually your iPhone should be able to provide that information. :mrgreen:
 

tirediron

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Gavjenks

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I don't see anything wrong with this, really.

You buy art today for two major reasons, IMO:
1) Thought provokingness / conversation piece / to look cool etc.
2) To go with your sofa.

Saturated, eye popping colors are more likely to go well with somebody's sofa, and "hip" filters and techniques like HDR are more likely to make you look trendy, or to make guests in your home go "oh weird, how do they do THAT?" since it looks so obviously and un-subtly different than their own snapshots.

If you want to sell photos as your main priority, then 90% of the time, you should be jumping on those sorts of motivations, not your own artistic vision. Unless you really are that 1 in a million brilliant artist whose vision will instantly shine through to make an even BETTER conversation piece.

And if that upsets you, well... just be glad that you are an artist today, at least, and not at almost any other time in history. 100+ years ago your patrons would have had MUCH more influence over your decisions than they do now. As in, specifically telling you where to paint every little object in the scene, etc. And you might have disagreed with every bit of it. Too bad, you would have done it if you wanted to get paid. This is not a new trend in any way shape or form.


If you want to pursue your own artistic vision, even though you know it won't be popular, then go for it primarily as a hobby! That's what I usually do. But just don't be shocked if you try to sell it and nobody stops at your booth.
 

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