The real photographic challenge

Sidewalk decay

In one sense we are living in the most exciting photographic period ever. The gear has never been better and the post processing options are staggering… But. There are zillions of images being made everyday, thanks to the availability of mobile photography but these happy snaps fall short of what the “real photographers” would say about the role of our picture taking. After all; there are rules, and stories and process and the all -important why of the photo. True enough when you look at photos with a more discerning eye and heart you have to ask, what is all this snapping about.

We look back at the “greats” of photography and are in awe of people like Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Robert Capa or Margaret Bourke-White and dozens more. Volumes have been written about their photographic prowess but though you might possess all their faculties you would be missing the most important ingredient. Their time. They worked in a certain time period in history when photography was not as saturated as the time we now live in. A huge impact on their photography was simply the point in history which they were a part of.

Today we are the most photographed generation to ever live. People are increasingly camera shy unless in certain situations. I am sure this varies with the age group but we are more photo conscious than photo curious. We have seen so many things it is much harder to arrest our attention on some fixed image because we know there will be another one along in just a few minutes.

So the real challenge for the photographic world is two-fold. We must be able to make a story that will last beyond the day and these photos must work for our time, not the bygone eras of “the greats”.

 

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