The re-birth of photography
rant about understanding why so many people see the world as photographers
I am going to write here about our inability to adapt to change. But wait, this is supposed to have an optimistic tone. OK then, I'll write about my hope that we will be able to adapt to the new way people see the world around them, as photographers.
I saw, earlier today, a story (here, on Vocal) about how photography is dying, with the author thanking (sarcastically) the smartphones for this. I have some opinions about this (not gonna dissect that article, don't worry).
I am a photographer. It makes me happy to freeze a moment in time. It makes me happy to be able to see that moment frozen before my eyes, ln that screen, or in the viewfinder, and the tools I can do this with are getting better and better and the diversity of such tools is ever-growing. Why is it growing? Because more and more people see the beauty of the world around them and ask for such tools and the producers are giving them what they ask, right? Simple.
In the beginning (end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th), humanity had only a handful of photographers that took it upon themselves to show what you can do with the new power to stop time in a frame. It was regarded as some sort of sorcery, as was everything that humans did not understand really. Ansel Adams' image of the Tetons and the Snake River is one of the first big moments in photography. James Nachtwey's depictions of wars raging around the world opened many eyes and many minds and helped us understand that we need to find the humanity inside ourselves. Don't even get me started on the Afghan Girl image. Slowly, this form of art has started to be recognized and used to transmit feelings, to change people, to change the course of wars, bring change in societies around the world.
More and more people realize that it is not enough to snap a pic and just throw it up on Insta. They see that a good photograph is one that makes the viewer feel something when they see it. An image has to make you stare at it, cry, cringe in horror, smile melancholically, and that would be a great photograph. This can be achieved naturally (if you are an artist at heart and really see these things, or via specific education.
And still, more and more people discover the joy of capturing split-seconds on the sensor. This can never be a bad thing. Imagine what will it be like, 100 years from now, to be able to have so much information about how the world used to look like 100 years ago (I would sure like to see what my home city looked like 100 years ago, and the more photos from that time I'd have, the better). But, as with everything, this is a phase in everyone's development. It will pass. Only the most passionate will remain and will keep going this way. Who will benefit from this? Everyone. It's a social circle that will continue this trend. A wave of new photographers comes on, filter the best ones, a new wave of photographers, and on and on.
The image quality has improved vastly, you can now shoot in whatever style you like. Like film look? There's a preset that helps you get there (you'd still have to tweak it a bit, but you're on the right way). This is amazing. Generations to come will have better and better tools to help shape a more visually-enabled society. This cannot be a bad thing, never will be.
Take as many pictures as you like, it is far better to look at photos that at tabloids, fake news, films that destroy our imagination. Read a book, take some pictures, have a tea.
Much love, R.