These two unconnected elements got me thinking about photography, my photography, my business and what the future holds for photos and photography in general.
Read on for some observations and ideas for your photos within the context of the trillions of photos floating around the planet!
First, here’s a brief history of photography:
• Early 1800s Photography is invented – Daguerre and others are on the cutting edge of technology.
• 1950s Camera companies revolutionize photography with widely available SLR cameras allowing photographers to preview the shot ‘through the lens.’
• 1980-1990 Camera technology accelerates with huge advances in autofocus systems raising the bar for photographic possibilities.
• Mid/late 1990’s The web becomes accessible and people start sharing photos.
• 2000 Early digital cameras become available.
• 2007 iPhone explodes onto the photo scene.
… And the quantity of photos skyrockets. Also, the perceived skills needed to produce good photos plummet.
ProPerspective – Now what does all this mean for photography?
• Photography has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Camera companies have been designing and producing new, often fantastic, cameras in a frenzy while preaching ‘Easy!’
• In the last decade there has been a shift in perceptions of photography. Quantity of photos has skyrocketed. Value of photos has plummeted. Value can be taken in the context of what photo buyers are willing to spend on photos AND what average people do with their photo collections.
• About ten years ago I started seeing a shift in my assignment work. Many clients had access to new digital cameras that they gave to staff to replace the expensive rates charged by working photographers. Shortly after, someone urged me to run Photography for Communications Professionals because many of the workplace photos they had to deal with in their communications job were not very good! Interestingly I have started to see a shift back towards more clients hiring me as they recognize (good) photography is not really that easy!
• Stock photo prices started to plummet 12 years ago as digital cameras and websites made it easy to produce and market stock imagery. It wasn’t always the best work but there was lots of it and that sent prices spiralling! Nicely, prices are starting to recover somewhat.
• Interest in photography has boomed! Now, many people have a camera and are composing their own visual stories in vastly different ways. It’s exciting to see people get excited about their visual lives.
People are producing some amazing work and pushing themselves creatively and visually. Some people us photos as a relatively disposable dialogue of their lives in a visual journal online.
For me, it’s very interesting to see how people us new photo tools!
Homework – So what does this mean for you and your photography?
Decide what photography is for you. It could be:
• A disposable medium to capture life’s moments. Click, post, delete.
• A creative outlet that helps you develop a neglected artistic inkling in the back of your brain.
• A way to document important things in your life whether that is a stamp collection, dogs, kids or elderly family members in their golden years.
• A social medium that helps you connect with new friends or groups.
• A therapeutic way to work through tough challenges in your life.
• A long term art project like Watershed.
In the new visual world of high megapixel cameras and accessibly easy iphones, it doesn’t matter what your interest in photography is! There are many photo tools for many different perspectives.
If you have an inkling, passion or obsession for photo do it with flair! Experiment, share and grow with photography. It’ll open doors and put a smile on your face.