I'm finding photography purposeless.

mrca

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Art with commerce is commercial art

After a good laugh, major gallery principals just might take you less than seriously--assuming they listened at all. I'm guessing the art market are waters you don't swim in regularly.
So you are saying it isn't art unless someone will pay you for it? Here is webster's definition of art : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects. There is no mention of money changing hands. I have been "swimming in the portraiture waters" for decades, have won and judged PROFESSIONAL competitions and headed a mentor program for PPA in northern CA. I don't give a shat what galleries are interested in. I don't look to them to decide what is art. I know more of painting, sculpure, architecture and photographic art than most of them. Spare me the haughty attitude. Hold your pinkie out drinking wine? I am a portrait ARTIST who makes art with a camera. I guess that vermeer guy wasn't an artist since no galleries showed his work. I find much of the "gallery world" a bunch of pompous aholes arrogant enough to think their opinion is superior to others. Have you ever seen the south park episode about people who drive a prius who smell their own farts? So take your snarky comment and shove it.
 

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Whoa, @mrca when you get to be our age you have to be careful you'll send your blood pressure into the danger zone. LOL

I have to agree with you on most of the gallery comments. There is no rhyme or reason to taste.

I've also been in a dry spell with photography but not for lost interest. We bought property on a local lake last year. There's only so many directions you can go in at once. Photography has suffered.
 

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So you are saying it isn't art unless someone will pay you for it? Here is webster's definition of art : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects. There is no mention of money changing hands. I have been "swimming in the portraiture waters" for decades, have won and judged PROFESSIONAL competitions and headed a mentor program for PPA in northern CA. I don't give a shat what galleries are interested in. I don't look to them to decide what is art. I know more of painting, sculpure, architecture and photographic art than most of them. Spare me the haughty attitude. Hold your pinkie out drinking wine? I am a portrait ARTIST who makes art with a camera. I guess that vermeer guy wasn't an artist since no galleries showed his work. I find much of the "gallery world" a bunch of pompous aholes arrogant enough to think their opinion is superior to others. Have you ever seen the south park episode about people who drive a prius who smell their own farts? So take your snarky comment and shove it.
So which galleries represent you, mrca? Just asking...
 

mrca

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So which galleries represent you, mrca? Just asking...
I represent myself. I am a portrait photographer. I only shoot people who interest and inspire me and can afford and appreciate what I offer. My work isn't for general consumption and have discussed this with Joe McNally who is shooting for people reading a magazine like SI or Nat Geo. Much of my work will only be understood by the particular client. My work is inspired by and unique to the client. In an in home consultation, my degree in psychology enables me to grasp their personality and my degree in literature enables me to elicit it in the camera room and tell their story, graphically with decades of photo experience and 30 grand in lighting gear, rather than verbally. It is a natural genre with my psyc and creative writing background. Many of my images are shots no one has seen before. In many cases, 30 year pros couldn't figure out how I did them. Had a call from CA today about how to create one I did there for a newborn I have never seen done. I know when I have done my job when the image comes up on the big screen in the selection appointment and they cry. No longer do weddings. Rarely events, primarily studio or location work. I am a one man show, biz management, marketing, sales, billing, shooting, lighting-lost my assistant when I moved 3000 miles, editing, printing, often matting and framing, gear maintance-printer repairs a grand yesterday, film developing and scanning. My passion is capturing what is special about a person and their relationships. It's not work for a gallery. I built a business from me alone to 6 offices in CA and 2 in NV in 18 months so I love the sales piece. My work is ofternextremely personal when I am able to get them to be vulnerable and show who they really are. I have done other genres, landscape/seascape, wildlife- the 3' tall birds in my back yard just won't take direction but will respond to sounds... and hot dogs- and still shoot street in 35mm and mf film for personal work. But portraiture is my love. I have no desire to hang my work in a gallery. I did have one of my shots hung in the Florida Museum of Photographic arts but it was a 7 light selfie just for jollies because it was a commentary on photography that other photographers would understand. So gallery showings have no use nor appeal to me. I take my own orders in my sales program linked to my business management program. It spits out an invoice with thumbnails and instantly drops the details in my mgmt accounting program. I don't need someone else to show or market my work. I love doing it myself...and those tears are priceless. For me the joy of photography is my images really rocking their world. A magazine cover has gotten me raves for it and folks get the impact and recognize it when I show it in my phone but when the meaning of the shot personal to the group is explained, folks marvel. This is the reason I get up every morning and it isn't work for me. Ok, messing with the darn printer is more like a pain in ass and I just sent back my SECOND older camera in a week. Japan is starting to slip on their quality. First one had the shutter speed dial fall off in 3 days, the one that arrived today, 10 minutes. Adios pentax.
 

mrca

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Whoa, @mrca when you get to be our age you have to be careful you'll send your blood pressure into the danger zone. LOL

I have to agree with you on most of the gallery comments. There is no rhyme or reason to taste.

I've also been in a dry spell with photography but not for lost interest. We bought property on a local lake last year. There's only so many directions you can go in at once. Photography has suffered.
Smoke, no worry about blood pressure, training for a bodybuilding competition in November. Looking forward to kicking some 20 something butt for us old guys.
 
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Interestingly enough, the Northrups came out with a video about this exact thing today:

 

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So you are saying it isn't art unless someone will pay you for it? Here is webster's definition of art : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects. There is no mention of money changing hands. I have been "swimming in the portraiture waters" for decades, have won and judged PROFESSIONAL competitions and headed a mentor program for PPA in northern CA. I don't give a shat what galleries are interested in. I don't look to them to decide what is art. I know more of painting, sculpure, architecture and photographic art than most of them. Spare me the haughty attitude. Hold your pinkie out drinking wine? I am a portrait ARTIST who makes art with a camera. I guess that vermeer guy wasn't an artist since no galleries showed his work. I find much of the "gallery world" a bunch of pompous aholes arrogant enough to think their opinion is superior to others. Have you ever seen the south park episode about people who drive a prius who smell their own farts? So take your snarky comment and shove it.

Art is a touchy subject... traditionally most "Artists" (painters) do not make much money until after they were dead... Sad, but usually true (not in all cases).

Photography is, as some people today say, slowly shrinking into a niche. Is there an enthusiastic amateur group? Yes, it can be seen on these forums and on Youtube. Is there a huge demand for professional photographers today? Not so much. Product photography has been mostly replaced by 3D software renderings. The two refuges seem to be professional portraits (people still need these) and weddings (people still want these). But even for weddings there is an increased demand for a mix of video and photos, maybe more skewed towards video today.

It addition, thanks to social media, it seems the people who would have been the younger generation of photographers to replace the older ones and continue the industry are now making videos for Youtube, TikTok etc. Photos do still have a place, but they do not seem to have the draw they once did as younger generations grow up and define what they want to consume.

You can sort of see this on Youtube. Ten years ago there were a handful of photo channels on Youtube (Fro, Northrups, Matt Granger, Digital Rev etc) who were making a lot of helpful / usefull content. Fast-forward to today and Jared Polen (Fro Knows Photo) is doing mostly opinion pieces on recent camera releases and a video about being on the road with a politician. The Northrups have been doing a mix of tutorials, podcasts and industry news for a long time now but have recently added "Top Gear" style videos of using old kit do take modern photos and the like. There are also a plethora of "Can you use a 15 or 12 year old Nikon/Canon/Other Brand today?" mostly from photographers in the UK, usually the answer is: YES, but...

It seems there is a lot of nostalgia happening and a lot of what were professional photographers becoming Youtube teachers to make ends meet. I hope it works for them.

Personally, I take a majority of photos for personal interest (photo safaris) but also work in taking photo portraits when my work calls for it (every two years or so).
 

mrca

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What I find so much on Youtube is someone gets a camera or piece of gear, has no clue and makes a video. In 2000 we saw many photographer pros who could barely take a sharp well exposed image being cut out of the industry with digital making it possible for someone to do that in a week. Today, cell phone cameras are in everyones pocket and they can copy what is happening around them. Photography can be more than a photocopy of what is in front of the camera. It can communicate powerful messages. To do that on demand, that is what a pro can do. He doesn't have the luxury of not getting a great shot in a shoot or several shoots. Those that have survived digital can offer something uncle harry can't do with his entry level camera and kit lens. Otherwise, why not have uncle harry photo it for free. Northrup was a computer guy what 10 years ago? Like so many youtubers, he reviewed new gear giving a link so he got a kick back if people bought the stuff. How often did you see youtubers with a link for purchasing the product being reviewed say it is crap. With the damage in japan and covid, with the evolution of camera technology slowing, new gear slowed being produced and they have little to review. The teaching thing is nothing new. As pros saw their revenues drop in early 2000's they turned to that. Books, videos flowed. But there is only so much you can teach in photography. Lately, it has been the usual "I'm gonna teach you how to use this piece of gear which I just happen to be selling and it will make you a great photographer. It has been going on for years and most folks don't fall for that any longer. I'm not sure about the enthusiasm of amateurs. Look at how some last posts on this site in some areas are months old. I think the novelty of photography has worn out for many. After 60 years photoing, for me there is so much to learn and photo and so little time.
 

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I represent myself. I am a portrait photographer. I only shoot people who interest and inspire me and can afford and appreciate what I offer. My work isn't for general consumption and have discussed this with Joe McNally who is shooting for people reading a magazine like SI or Nat Geo. Much of my work will only be understood by the particular client. My work is inspired by and unique to the client. In an in home consultation, my degree in psychology enables me to grasp their personality and my degree in literature enables me to elicit it in the camera room and tell their story, graphically with decades of photo experience and 30 grand in lighting gear, rather than verbally. It is a natural genre with my psyc and creative writing background. Many of my images are shots no one has seen before. In many cases, 30 year pros couldn't figure out how I did them. Had a call from CA today about how to create one I did there for a newborn I have never seen done. I know when I have done my job when the image comes up on the big screen in the selection appointment and they cry. No longer do weddings. Rarely events, primarily studio or location work. I am a one man show, biz management, marketing, sales, billing, shooting, lighting-lost my assistant when I moved 3000 miles, editing, printing, often matting and framing, gear maintance-printer repairs a grand yesterday, film developing and scanning. My passion is capturing what is special about a person and their relationships. It's not work for a gallery. I built a business from me alone to 6 offices in CA and 2 in NV in 18 months so I love the sales piece. My work is ofternextremely personal when I am able to get them to be vulnerable and show who they really are. I have done other genres, landscape/seascape, wildlife- the 3' tall birds in my back yard just won't take direction but will respond to sounds... and hot dogs- and still shoot street in 35mm and mf film for personal work. But portraiture is my love. I have no desire to hang my work in a gallery. I did have one of my shots hung in the Florida Museum of Photographic arts but it was a 7 light selfie just for jollies because it was a commentary on photography that other photographers would understand. So gallery showings have no use nor appeal to me. I take my own orders in my sales program linked to my business management program. It spits out an invoice with thumbnails and instantly drops the details in my mgmt accounting program. I don't need someone else to show or market my work. I love doing it myself...and those tears are priceless. For me the joy of photography is my images really rocking their world. A magazine cover has gotten me raves for it and folks get the impact and recognize it when I show it in my phone but when the meaning of the shot personal to the group is explained, folks marvel. This is the reason I get up every morning and it isn't work for me. Ok, messing with the darn printer is more like a pain in ass and I just sent back my SECOND older camera in a week. Japan is starting to slip on their quality. First one had the shutter speed dial fall off in 3 days, the one that arrived today, 10 minutes. Adios pentax.
Why so shy then about sharing access to your work here?
 
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Keep it civil, folks or risk getting the thread locked, and potentially a time out.
 

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Northrup was a computer guy what 10 years ago? Like so many youtubers, he reviewed new gear giving a link so he got a kick back if people bought the stuff. How often did you see youtubers with a link for purchasing the product being reviewed say it is crap.
I don't follow any YouTubers. I don't follow any modern day photographers. I don't follow them because I don't think they are any good.
I spend more time cringing when I watch a photography YouTube video more than anything else.

You mentioned pro photographers surviving the digital age. There is a misconception older photographers dropped out of the industry because they were no longer producing good enough work to compete against the new gen coming in. This was/is the case in some circumstances, always has been, as it is the case in any industry. With photography however, many left the industry because the industry changed into something they did not like. It was not due to a lack of skill or an inability to produce. Some of the best film photographers I know have long since stopped working professionally. Some of the pro film photographers I considered total hacks in the 90's are still in the industry today.
 

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Why so shy then about sharing access to your work here?
I haven't posted here as I think I have a basic membership. I'll give it a try. I guess that was another site. Here's a 6 light selfie from last week testing this mf film RB 67 camera against a pentax 645 N I have returned to Japan. Because of posing, lighting and camera position, my severely broken nose from a welter weight world champ isn't even discernable. For the film folks, this was a grain size test ilford 3200 shot at 1600 and developed in DDX for 3200. This was a heavily cropped, probably at least 30% because shot really loose since no way to check what I was getting on framing and focus was satisfactory approximating the position of my bust of Julius Caesar who sits in for light positioning and power settings. Since film cameras use a bulb for a 20' triggering, I had to squeeze the heck out of the bulb as it wouldn't inflate more than half. Definitely got some grip strength exercise. Upside was the "new" camera had no light leaks, the down side is the 3 day old camera had the shutter dial fall off. Got a replacement yesterday, that shutter dial fell off in 3 minutes. That pentax is on the way back and a mamiya 645 pro is on the way, the little brother of my Mamiya RB. This crop is about 645 and is the size grain I am looking for. On 35mm it is over powering, on 67 the 3200 is still too small for what I am looking for. Being behind the camera and being able to frame close to final crop should be exactly right. The RB is meant to be a studio camera and it lives on a rolling stand. But a 645 with auto film winder is small enough and fast enough for hand held shots in studio. It only has a 1/60 flash synch speed, but I have a leaf shutter lens coming that enables 1/500 for easily hand holding the 150 mm lens. If I can't find a cable from power drive to lens, will still have cock the shutter each time before each shot just like with the RB, except no need to also advance the film. I printed this on Epson cold press bright at 16x16 on an 8 year old epson 3880 printer and it makes the hair upper r just glow. My 24 inch printer required a $1000 servicing replacing 4 major parts so hopefully it won't do an automatic head cleaning every time I turn it on now. But will reprint on epson platine with photo black ink, greater dmax and detail on the luster paper. And here's a shot you have never seen called "you're about to get your ass kicked, old man" that was taken ring side doing boxing photos. It represents what I saw when I woke up after saying that to a guy with a big belt that said welterweight world champ. For OP, that is the creativity that will keep you photo juices flowing. Also, learn some lighting techniques like this bounce 40 feet to my right to place form revealing shadows on this 18th century Santa watching a 21st Century laser light show reflected in his glasses. Also, learn to look behind you. Or a baby shot at an event in a school all purpose room with garish florescent lights so again a bounce 50 feet to improve lighting. Before and after editing shots. It's edited for a 20x20 mat or canvas print.
 

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mrca

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mjcmt, The last 3 shots required minimal gear, just some new skills. Of course, studio work lets you start with a blank slate and paint you canvas with so much control. Let your creative run. Just one fresnel light and a reflector was the only gear needed to make the Mohawk shot. When I saw his trademark Mohawk, I knew I wanted to back light it then wanted to hit the bindings and inlays on his Gibson Les Paul guitar to make them light up as that is the area where the magic happens. Printed on a super bright paper, Exhibition Fiber, they pop as do his fingers doing a bend on the strings. It doesn't take lots of gear, a studio to make impactful photos and keep you enjoyment of photography alive. Keep shooting.​

 

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mrca

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I don't follow any YouTubers. I don't follow any modern day photographers. I don't follow them because I don't think they are any good.
I spend more time cringing when I watch a photography YouTube video more than anything else.

You mentioned pro photographers surviving the digital age. There is a misconception older photographers dropped out of the industry because they were no longer producing good enough work to compete against the new gen coming in. This was/is the case in some circumstances, always has been, as it is the case in any industry. With photography however, many left the industry because the industry changed into something they did not like. It was not due to a lack of skill or an inability to produce. Some of the best film photographers I know have long since stopped working professionally. Some of the pro film photographers I considered total hacks in the 90's are still in the industry today.
It wasn't not being able to compete with the new pros coming in, it was that if their work was simply "sharp and well exposed" which most non photographers couldn't do before digital, with the advent of digital, lcds, chimping and cell phones, folks could make their own sharp well exposed photos. Those photographers saw their business plummet and stopped being hired. And of course, with cameras in every ones pocket in their cell phone, there is less demand for photographers who only capture reality. What they didn't like was newbies charging next to nothing driving down the sales and the income. So they tried to compete with the bottom feeders and learned that price shoppers won't spend much, and will be looking for ways not to have to pay. A guy I trained with a decade ago was consistently charging 40,000 a wedding. I just heard him say that level of price is few and far between now. I remember him tracking the number of weddings a year and they are plummeting. With half the kids born out of wedlock, that means fewer weddings. But those brides looking for a bargain can end up with no photos. In CA at least 2 photographers have been hit with 40 grand judgments for screwing up wedding photos. Little chance they had E&O insurance. I don't trouble myself over others dropping out. In most cases they aren't my competitors anyway. Besides, if you have a costco camera and kit lens, a website and a business card, you can call yourself a photographer. Remember when we were kids kodak told you the sunny 16 rule and to have the sun behind the camera. Now, it is a cliche every shot is back lit with flat crap light on the subject. But hey, it's sharp and well exposed. I know photographers making 6 figure incomes churning out that crap.
 

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It wasn't not being able to compete with the new pros coming in, it was that if their work was simply "sharp and well exposed" which most non photographers couldn't do before digital, with the advent of digital, lcds, chimping and cell phones, folks could make their own sharp well exposed photos. Those photographers saw their business plummet and stopped being hired. And of course, with cameras in every ones pocket in their cell phone, there is less demand for photographers who only capture reality. What they didn't like was newbies charging next to nothing driving down the sales and the income. So they tried to compete with the bottom feeders and learned that price shoppers won't spend much, and will be looking for ways not to have to pay. A guy I trained with a decade ago was consistently charging 40,000 a wedding. I just heard him say that level of price is few and far between now. I remember him tracking the number of weddings a year and they are plummeting. With half the kids born out of wedlock, that means fewer weddings. But those brides looking for a bargain can end up with no photos. In CA at least 2 photographers have been hit with 40 grand judgments for screwing up wedding photos. Little chance they had E&O insurance. I don't trouble myself over others dropping out. In most cases they aren't my competitors anyway. Besides, if you have a costco camera and kit lens, a website and a business card, you can call yourself a photographer. Remember when we were kids kodak told you the sunny 16 rule and to have the sun behind the camera. Now, it is a cliche every shot is back lit with flat crap light on the subject. But hey, it's sharp and well exposed. I know photographers making 6 figure incomes churning out that crap.
Have a question for you. Don't consider it any kind of an attack, it's a genuine question I would like to read your response.
Let's talk weddings as you mentioned them. Is it possible today to "genuinely" provide a couple the highest quality professional results and still run a viable business?

You've broken down elements of the industry quite well imo. No, until tech saved their butts people could not expose or focus to save their life. I printed consumer films many years ago. At least 90% were underexposed. You see it today as well when newcomers try out film. The difference is today they consider underexposure acceptable and art. I don't think they even understand underexposing means they are screwing their exposures up. Regardless, if you underexpose you will get a million likes. The poor guy who actually exposes correctly and puts together a reasonable image gets a handful of likes at best. I just shake my head. lol
 

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