Tuesday, March 29, 2016

About photography - 2016

A major art museum in Tel Aviv just featured a whole exhibition to the subject of "Selfie".Which is - as David Bailey once put it  - "a form of self pleasuring". 

Photography is a craft and an art form that never ceases to evolve and change, in technology, form, function and styles. Everything is influenced and derives from what's currently available. 
It basically started with wet plates which had to be separately prepared before and after each shot. 
Now of course it's so instant, nobody can keep track of it and where it's headed. 

Back when I started, we had to develop our own black and white negatives, print in the dark room and be amazed of the images that magically appeared on the blank paper. 

I personally spent hours developing and printing images, most of them where really bad. Film, Paper, chemicals, dark room appliances where moderately expensive, but it meant independence and freedom of creativity. Plus you get to actually TOUCH the pictures. 

It was a process, it was hard and slow progress, to get better, to get the images right. 
Fast forward to the early 2000's. I bought my first digital cameras and felt and immense liberation. Everything became so easy and fast. 
Suddenly you don't have to rely on a Lab to develop your neg's, do a contact sheet etc etc. My creative flow exploded. 
Now I spent hours relearning the new medium. hours of Photoshop, hours of experimenting with strobes, hours studying from internet sites and tutorials. 

But then, with all changes the good is accompanied with the troublesome. 
Everything became digitized. Which meant Newspaper and magazines were saving on photographers and slowly shutting down, ad agencies discovered how cheap, stock images are, 
more and more people bought cheap cameras and joined the party. 

It is virtually impossible to keep track of how your images were used, what medium and how often. Old copyrights are hard to implement on new mediums. 

And then came Instagram. An endless flow of good and bad images, all thrown together, no limit, some flawless, some boring and a lot of them are terrible, but it doesn't matter, the flow continues endlessly. 

So many "photographers" are putting their work out there, where am I, where is my accumulated skill set in this brave new digital world ? 
I spent years perfecting my craft, getting better and better, in lighting, problem solving, forming ideas, embracing the change, embracing the new, but all I can figure out is, 
There is a constant - which is the change. Everything changes and changes again. The new stars of Photography now know little about the technical and more about the ideas and how to best promote them. 
So the technology both liberated and enslaved the photographer.
You can do almost everything with a small camera and photoshop, but you need to apply new skills of promoting across so many media. 

Social media is king but I find that social skills are even more essential.