The Graying Of Traditional Photography

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It’s no longer enough to get something in focus, well exposed and color correct. It’s no longer good enough to fix all the “flaws” in Photoshop. What the important audience wants now is the narrative, the story, the “why” and not the “how.” The love, not the schematic.

via The Visual Science Lab.: The graying of traditional photography and why everything is getting re-invented in a form we don’t understand..

There Are 7 Comments On This Article.

  1. It was never “enough” to just get a photo technically correct according to some formula. As Richard Avendon reportedly told a workshop class that included the late Deborah Turbeville just starting out: “It isn’t important to have technique, but you must have an idea or inspiration…” And any other instructor, now or back then, would say the same thing if they were any good.

    As for his profiling of US camera buyers, US consumers aren’t leading the way anymore, so that’s not a very helpful exercise. He should try going to a tourist spot popular with foreigners and see who’s still carrying DLSRs. Hint: it’s just about every single adult tourist. Male or female. And yes, even young-ish female tourists carry O-MDs. And I bet more Americans would too, if they could afford them.

  2. The narrative never left. The need for a good story was what has always defined the best images. And, Apple is only carrying on the torch that started with Kodak: “Just push the button and we’ll do the rest.”

  3. OK – The guy is shilling for Samsung and no one stops to consider the source? I attended PhotoExpo on Thursday and saw few people walking with cameras. Every pro/colleague/friend I ran into on the floor WAS NOT carrying a camera.

    The guy is dissing on fifty year plus shooters and totally removing craft as an element of success. Yet, he is a fifty year old plus shooter.

    The idea is still the most important avenue but you need to be able to say it and that takes craft – even at the lowest end – including all those photographers who don’t care about craft and use LR plug-ins to “grade” their images.

  4. Nice essay, but the emphasis on either/or is a bit troubling. Some people still make work for gallery installations and (thank god) there is a wider scope of venues for photography than just social media. For a print designer who constantly has to squeeze resolution out of photos to make a picture fit a full page … yes extra resolution is nice. Content has always trumped technique – so don’t insist that you need a small social media sized image to be intimate or make compelling content. It is just the reverse of the argument that you need a “battleship” sized camera to make anything worthwhile. In the end it is always the content that matters.

  5. The biggest takeaway from this for me was what we all know: screens are the galleries, the final product, the place our work will be seen. If we accept that, we can lighten up. Although….there was this 1×1 inch headshot years ago in the NY Times of a bride. It was stunning and it was astonishing amidst all the other bridal headshots. It just popped out. There was a little credit by the shot that read, “Avedon.” He probably shot it with an 8×10 camera – and there it was, in newsprint, tiny and it blew everything else away.
    Cameras are way too heavy. Video cameras are way too high end for most of our needs. Everyday I head the words, “good enough.” For almost no money, clients can hire someone who is “good enough.” They are putting their brand in the hands of rookies. But it is “good enough.”
    Fancy cameras do not make great photographers better than “good enough.” Getting the Malcolm Gladwell hours in spades does. Or see Ira Glass’s classic videos: http://numerocinqmagazine.com/2011/05/13/what-nobody-tells-beginners-ira-glass-on-storytelling/
    I have never really paid much attention to the camera I use. I just get the best one out there and forget it.
    Every morning my wife Stephie reminds me, “The work leads to the work.”