Originally Posted by jnanian
The article is fairly absurd - my understanding is that the photography market has never been better. Classic photos are setting new records and contemporary work is selling well.
The trend is toward tiny editions (3-6 prints) in large sizes (which is, of course, easier to pull off in digital printing - a 40" x 40" print from your Epson requires a great deal less work than a 40" square silver gelatin print), and if your work has the backing of a major gallery (read: status, the potential to gain value), the yuppies buying your work don't care if it's archival pigment, a c-print or platinum/palladium.
I spent my time in that transitional period in filmmaking, and I came out with digital video! But I still think 16mm is one format some people like I will love forever.
Originally Posted by Kino
The use of video was essential when you ran out of your budget. (At that point you had already maxed out your loans from your and your producer's credit cards!) I had seen and worked on a number of independent feature-length films shot mostly in film but partly on video and put together. They did well in the festival circuits, and mostly cinema lovers didn't seem to mind as long as the stories were good.
I mean, no one expects first-time filmmakers to be so perfect because they come from different backgrounds with different skills, and they don't have everything in their movies yet.
But now the video camera quality (and its projection) has gotten pretty decent, so it seems less of a matter.
I don't think current trends in photography hurt anyone. Crap is crap and good work stands out over the junk. Art, regardless of the medium, will always be a subjective experience and whatever moves people will sell no matter how it was created. So, regarding the argument that it hurts true creative art, I wouldn't buy into that.
A true artist chooses a medium which suits their ability to produce their work. It is not necessarily going to influence the audience about their like or dislike of the finished product. We need to get over the resentment of new creative techniques and get on with the business of making pictures to express ourselves.
Acoustic guitar is a beautiful instrument. Electric guitar is also beautiful. In the hands of a master both produce excellent results. There's also a lot of people out there with electric guitars. But you are not buying all of their records....because not everybody with an electric guitar is good enough to make records.
I'm coming in late to a discussion that seems to be over. That happens when you don't do internet for several days at a time. But I'll toss out a few observations anyway.
The premise of the article seems sound but the writer over-thought his subject. There really are too many images assaulting us from every direction these days. The proliferation of so many photographs is made possible largely by the technology--whether the image is made in traditional means or not, the ability to display, publish and sell photographs has been improved by the internet and digitalization of the image. We are saturated with visual information and this saturation has tended to lessen the value of all visual information.
Per the article: "The medium's special aptitudes...no longer seem quite so special. Instead, photography has become ubiquitous, frictionless and trivial."
And: "What is art, after all, but a dream of significance, of some things mattering more than others, a concentration and distillation of the great, formless everything that surrounds us into something more meaningful?"
A little too wordy and clumsy, perhaps, but also correct. We're bombarded with mediocre images to the point that our special art of photography is becoming insignificant. We can deny it if we wish. I don't think we traditional photographers should worry so much about the discontinuance of film, chemicals, photographic paper and film cameras. What we do could simply become considered irrelevant.
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Lee, I have to say I completely agree with you. With images everywhere and I mean everywhere I think people just get tired of looking as now anyone and everyone is a photographer, bad images or not. And you have all these digital shooters selling prints for nickels on the dollar it was only an amount of time before it really started to hurt the industry as a whole.
So yes, I enjoy creating traditional images but digital has completely devalued them to the point where people donít care of the difference and donít care to pay my price when they can shoot it themselves or buy it for $20 done on inkjets.
I also find myself agreeing with what Lee wrote. The proliferation of stock images, something Kevin mentions, has created a micro-stock and so-called custom stock (basically images on speculation) market, fuelled by Getty and Corbis having bought out many imaging companies. People who use to make a living doing stock photography are having a very rough time. I think in some ways that public perception of low or no cost imaging adversely affects that.
Lack of credentials, lack of true organization, and a lack of understanding hurt photography as a profession. While APA, EP, and ASMP efforts do help photographers, they do so more at a legal or government level, rather than helping any public awareness of photography. The marketing efforts of companies wanting to sell ever more cameras also gives the impression of it being all too easy. The average person in public does not know what a medium format camera is, nor even that there are such things as new large format cameras . . . many of us probably get questions about whether we can still get film for that or perhaps even surprise that we can shoot colour film in our cameras.
While I found the original article to contain the usually too short oversimplifications, the problem is I think it did reflect some in the general public. Speak to professionals and enthusiasts, then different approaches are required. The original article seemed aimed at a segment of the general public; and I found trouble with it because there was little that would further interest in photography. I doubt the writer cared about how professional photographers nor how photography enthusiasts viewed the article.
Where I am living currently, I see some portrait photographers doing outdoor images with medium format cameras. The funny aspect is that some people perceive the larger cameras as somehow more professional; perhaps just by being a bit different. There is often too much emphasis on the gear being more important than the images. This is where I think the art aspect of photography fails. When the magic is no longer in the image, then people get the idea they can do it themselves. It should make little difference in my oil paintings whether I use Windsor & Newton paints, or some other brand; the choice is simply my personal preference, not some formula (equipment) ensuring good results.
I saw some of this in the past weekend at a local event called Art Walk. There were many fine art photographers showing images, and quite a few fielded lots of technical questions of how their images were created. I don't think it is bad to educate people in some techniques, but the danger is making it sound too easy. People don't arbitrarily take up drawing or painting, because they understand there is effort involved; but photography often can only be difficult when they cannot get the results they want.
There is an entire industry now just in teaching people to do photography. However, much of that now is an emphasis on gear and technology, rather than understanding what makes an image compelling. I still think drawing skills are the skills that had the greatest impact on my photography, and we all know that pencils and a sketchbook don't cost much.
But buying the portrait or drawing seomone did with the pencil and notebook does. That is the difference. They are not letting there drawing go for $15-20 bucks and saying this is the norm.
and we all know that pencils and a sketchbook don't cost much.
Last edited by kjsphoto; 05-02-2006 at 08:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Originally Posted by kjsphoto
Oh, I definitely agree. It surprised me to see people at Art Walk selling prints so cheaply. If someone does not value their own work, or see it too much as a commodity, then that is their choice. Unfortunately, I don't want to show or sell my work under such conditions, and I think others doing that make it tougher on everyone else. One of the funniest was two different artists sharing a booth that had prints for sale, with a sign "1 for $20, 3 for $75" . . . my guess is this is the mentality of client they were attempting to attract. It reminds me of that saying that some people know the price of everything, and the cost of nothing.
There are unfortunately people out their who place little value in what they do. On another forum, I saw a suggestion from a professional stock shooter to price things lower, but show the clients wanting low priced images items that are lower quality, then further suggesting showing better quality higher priced images to try upselling the client. Seriously, not one other person on that forum agreed with that approach; the worse part is that for the one guy who did post that to a professional forum, there are probably several hundred just like him who never post to the internet, in other words I doubt he was the sole exception. It is people like him who place little value in their work that are causing huge problems. What other profession survives on arbitrary and variable pricing?
The other way to look at this, and the reason I mentioned drawing, is that you cannot buy your way into good photography. This should be the incentive and help to those new to photography; the idea not that you need certain gear, but that you need to work the best with what you can afford. I have several very old cameras I use for some of my fine art photography just for that concept, though I look at it in a way that when these old cameras were new, there were people making quite compelling images with them. The art, to get back to the original posting, was in the creative vision of the photographers; they just happened to have technically lesser gear than is available to photographers today.
And just think about all of the advertising images we get bombarded with all of the time!
Originally Posted by Lee Shively
"I am an anarchist." - HCB
"I wanna be anarchist." - JR