Saturday, January 06, 2018

Is Photography Really Dead???

PetaPixel published an article that asks if photography is really dead.

I have to admit, the author makes more than a few decent points.

"...But what died, exactly? The techie crowd had become bored with these particular machines, moving on to newer, shinier gadgets, and young people, like most young people, just wanted to hook up. Nothing wrong with either, and certainly nothing new. The dedicated photographers who had been working quietly and being ignored likewise continued in this fashion, and will keep doing so even while everyone else is using brain implants to beam live VR experiences featuring their cats..."

It's the being ignored part that can be a little difficult.  Or more properly, it's the being unknown and unfindable part that working in isolation can bring.  Dedicated artists like to share their work and in the narcissistic world of social media self promotion it's very difficult to carry on any kind of conversation about the art and craft of imaging.

Here I sit in one of the most photographed cities in the world and yet I can count on fewer than two digits the number of dedicated photographers who live here as a friend or colleague.  All of my photographer friends live either in New York or out on the west coast of the USA.  Perhaps it's telling that many among these dedicated artists continue to pursue their vision using old tools, techniques, and processes.

I miss being able to sit around a table stacked with beers and "talking shop" and sharing the results of our latest efforts.  Doing so remotely, electronically, just doesn't carry the same impact as meeting someone face to face.  I learned so much from our casual conversations.

I learned about optics and the fact that lens coatings exist that make the glass disappear.  One of the gents I talked with worked in an optical company where the process and results were demonstrated.

I learned a lot about process.  Two other gents helped me understand the proper tools and techniques of hand-coating platinum-palladium solutions for making contact prints that can last unchanged for over 500 years.

I learned a lot about how to work with models.  Several gents continue to create gorgeous images of models.  They work both in the studio and in the open air.  Dealing with people takes time, intelligence, and the ability to convey emotions in sometimes subtle ways.

While there are so many aspects to photography that I will never fully grasp, simply talking with others helped to fill in the "blank spaces".

Many are the days when I consider "pulling the plug" on social media participation.  Though I know in doing so I could completely turn out the image sharing, conversation starter, art as a movement welcoming and participation light.

Nikon Nikkor + Lens TurboII + Sony A5000


Alastair Arthur said...

It’s frustrating, and I’m sure many photographers feel that their particular avenue of photography is ‘dead’ (no longer fruitful), such as stock or print sales. The newer US communities that encourage local engagement, such as Drink & Click and especially Beer & Cameras, seem to be thriving though. May 2018 bring us both new photog drinking buddies!

Christopher Perez said...


I didn't realize there were those communities. Back in the day (just 10 years ago) we used to call them camera clubs. I belonged to a couple and found them to be very helpful. Which gives me an idea... ;-)

Keep up the good work.

- Chris