Is now the death of the photographer and photography?
How quickly we browse thousands of uploaded photos, how much do we consider these miniature masterpieces, the snappers best shot… well speaking personally, a second is a long time. Clicking endlessly until, phew, this is a little different, 3 seconds, save it, it has done well. Millions of shots, nay billions of stored plagiarism all over the world; to what end. Not a lot really! Unless you are being paid.
Does anybody care about your one in a million snap, that perfectly framed and exposed snap with 30 minutes of post processing? it gets 7 likes while a picture of a baby with a feather on its nose taken on a ten year old nokia gets 3 million.
How much are we kidding ourselves that we need yet another exotic lens, the one that will make all the difference, its becoming silly. Norman Parkinson arguably one of the finest portrait photographers to ever own a camera basically had two lenses for his Hasselblad and asked for them from his assistant as “the short one or the long one” it was never about stuff, just communication with the subject composition and getting the exposure close. Admittedly he shot a lot of film, however nowhere near what we spray our victims with. Is it time to slow down and re- think it a little more?
Are we obsessed tech’, with sharpness, as a wedding photographer of many years and since digital I soften 90% of all my work. Saturation, the art of making a photo look unlike a photo, it is subjective but it does make ones eyes sore, wind it in. More often now I find myself going back to the bookshelf and enjoying the simplicity of artistic skill and experience and the less is more critique. It is a refreshing realisation that you do not need £thousands of kit to make a memorable photo. Think of the large percentage of older photographers post war, a rangefinder, a 35mm summicron and a pocket full of HP5, the legacy they left is truly awesome and inspiring, I suggest any flagging snapper to visit these worthwhile archives. If you need names to research I will gladly supply them.
Now I find I need to strip away what I have used and been taught over many years and really except my own thinking on what is my “good” and to stop expecting any company and unnecessary notoriety or unqualified praise. Now, from choice I am alone and alone in my photography, working into my own unknown, no-one to satisfy but me. Who better? At the end of a professional era, now just me, future memories.
Now I am looking for more behind the photo, the author, their state of mind, inspiration and where they get the concepts behind their captures, I find myself wanting to converse and share ideas and stories, are they any different, how do they do things, think, there are of course many sides to our passion so it is your duty to look for them if you want to evolve.
The finest books available to any aspiring thoughtful photographer are
Henri Cartier Bresson’s “the Decisive Moment” Robert Doisneau’s “Portraits of the Artists” and anything by Jeanloup Sieff.
The point in HCB’s book the “decisive moment” as the name suggests is now null and void, almost a forgone conclusion as we, the modern shooter spray our subjects at 10 frames a second multiplying any correction that should have been made, a time and place I hear you say and you are right, and wrong. Auto focus, auto exposure, auto iso, moveable focus points, auto white balance, jpegs, post process auto correction, how good are we really or need to be, do we just turn up to press the button, how many people know the difference between depth of field and depth of focus anymore? not that you need to of course. Is our new expertise just learning the menus and complexity of our new toys and little to do with photography. What of aprenticees? Now is a good time to engage brain, learn some basics, ignore them and shoot some original captures to become one of the 3 second; save it brigade.
If you buy a Nikon it does not make you a photographer just a Nikon owner, modify your craft.
jlg1.com john lester griffiths ancient snapper nikon, leica and fuji owner.