Monday, August 4, 2008

Put on another thinking cap

From a recent
APE interview with Simon Barnett of Newsweek: "....publishable pictures can now be taken by almost anyone with a 200 dollar point and shoot, so hunting for the people who have a point of view, and can express their unique vision in photographs is more important than ever. It’s now less about how to technically get the image recorded and so much more about the mind behind it."

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. It's scary, and exciting. Photographers are becoming less important for their technical skills, and more valuable for their conceptual and artistic abilities. The playing field has been leveled in new ways.

Hopefully the people that have spent most of their lives thinking about composition, understanding light, and visual communication will have a head start on the $200 crew.

This just reinforces that it's all about the idea. Now more so than ever. Time to think even harder before picking up the camera, because just picking up the camera isn't enough anymore.


Rob Prideaux said...

I agree - for editorial, photojournalism, and even documentary - that this is the case today.

For advertising, the technical, equipment, production, and networking barriers are still pretty high. An ad campaign across multiple locations with models, stylists, etc requires a lot of management. A product shoot for Apple requires a LOT of technical know-how, and you must have specific equipment. And a guy with a $200 camera and a binder full of killer images is still unlikely to convince an art buyer at Y&R to throw him a $150K ad shoot.

This is not to say, however, that your main point, that the trend is toward photographers value being in vision rather than technique is not true...

And yet, one could argue that this has always been true, just on a narrower scale. Nobody hires Annie Liebowitz for her technical proficiency. And there are many successful catalog shooters whose vision is nearly irrelevant to their success.

It does seem to be getting broader and broader. Blame democracy and the Brownie.

Timothy Archibald said...

It really has been a long time since pure technique was valued in photography. Like maybe Matthew Brady got some of his opportunities because he knew how to operate the camera and no one else had one, but since then...its kinda been all about this other stuff, don't you all agree?