Loss of fine art photography tradition
I can't find a better heading to put this under, so I hope it is appropriately placed here.
Those few remaining of you who remember my name may recall that I have something of a track record as a Zone System expert and that I started the transition from analog to digital about five years ago; am working completely digitally now. (This is in no way a digital vs film topic. I couldn't care less how anyone chooses to work.) Having made the transition, I believe I am observing something most here may not have noticed, simply because someone still working with film might have no reason to notice.
What I believe I am seeing is a near total abandonment of photographic tradition and history among new photographers, who of course work digitally (in large part). This concerns me greatly. Without tradition and history, the future is bleak.
I have a gallery here in west Texas where from time to time, young photographer wannabes come in to show me their work, or at least talk about showing me their work. When I mention ANY historical figure in photography I get a blank stare from them. When I talk about using archivally adequate materials or presentation appropriate to fine art photography... same thing. Even the most obvious basics appear to be missing.
I also have noticed that on discussion boards they talk at great length about using materials and methods that I, and most here, would consider anathema.
My concern is this: since new photographers have no need of seeking knowledge concerning analog materials and techniques from older photographers, they are therefore no longer immersed in an atmosphere conducive to acquiring knowledge of other aspects of photography from those same people. They do not learn the history, aesthetics, the various schools or even familiarize themselves with any of the work of the past. It is as if, for these new photographers, all the greats and what they had to teach us have simply vanished from the Earth.
I would like to hear the opinions of others on this. What have you seen? Do you agree? What can be done?
I mean, c'mon, a wannabe fine art photographer who never heard of Stieglitz or Weston? Let alone having seen their work?
NB: I picked APUG for this discussion because there appear to be no people on digital photography forums with the depth and experience needed to participate in such a discussion: i.e., They never heard of Stieglitz or Weston either.