by Gray Graham
You are probably thinking I am going to write an article about how the internet and social media have killed photography with their small pictures and short form videos but that my friend is not what we are going to do. Instead we are going to talk about how photographers killed their own craft because they didn’t actually care about the photographs they took but instead the new camera gear they bought.
I just read a comment online in a photography forum where someone wrote that a full-frame digital camera that could shoot at ISO 6400 was not a professional camera. I know I am old but to hear things like this lets me know the person either has never worked as a professional photographer or they absolutely don’t know what they are talking about when it comes to photography. For the past 15 years it has been clear that it is mostly the later.
Once upon a time, professional photographers refused to use any digital camera; instead preferring to stick with their tried and true 35mm film cameras. I assume most of those old guys are dead because you can barely find a film camera today without searching online. The same goes with finding someone to develop your film, but believe it or not there are many people that are doing just that.
Photography has always been one of those strange creative fields. It is filled with either super eccentric artists that are trying to create masterpieces the world has never seen, cold businessmen trying to make as much money as possible with every click of the shutter, the technical geek flexing their math skills, or the fancy luxury servant of wealthy clients. These days it seems it is mostly cold business people, luxury servants and tech geeks. Photography artists are mostly a thing of the past.
It was always said that the photography business was 80% business and 20% photography. Today I would say it is 99% business and 1% photography. The reason I say that is because strangely enough rich and famous clients now care more about the fame of the photographer than they do about the cost of their gear. That’s why you have people doing major photo shoots with iphones and Galaxys instead of Canons and Nikons. If you have a successful brand then you will get work far more work than your photography skills will provide.
Speaking of photography skills one of the things I will blame social media and the internet for is the lack of photography knowledge and skills. All the average photographer knows about photography is auto-focus, dynamic range, pushing and pulling shadows, low light performance, camera menus, control dials and bokeh.
Anything about the exposure triangle, composition, or lighting is a big nothing. In fairness most of the people on social media talking about photography say they are a camera reviewer and not a professional photographer. I never thought I would see the day where anyone that called themselves a professional photographer would be saying auto-focus was something they needed to take a picture but here we are.
Maybe the biggest reason people don’t talk about the art of photography is because very few photographs are made anymore. Most of what we see out there now is digital art and not photographs. There are very few pictures out there that are actual photographs taken with a camera instead of a digital painting created with photo editing software. And we are talking about a lot more than just adjusting the colors of an image. Most of the photographs you see have every single thing in the image altered to the point nothing is how it is in reality. The subject, background, colors, everything has been changed. That to me is no longer a photograph but that is what is put out there as photography today.
Since everyone has a capable camera in their pocket there is nothing special about taking a picture anymore. So many of the old camera companies have went out of business because very few people actually buy cameras anymore. To be honest I don’t think many people care about pictures anymore in general. The average person would rather see a video than look at just a picture. Many photographers can tell you they get more engagement on social media from a video showing them taking a picture than they do from the actually picture. This is probably why basically all the cameras sold today have video features that are more important than the photography features. This is why they are called hybrid cameras because for most people it is more important to take video than a photo.
Now there are still some artistic talented, gifted photographers out there but that number is pretty small these days. Even some of the camera gear reviewers and influencers are very capable photographers. As I mentioned earlier there are photographers out there that love using film cameras and you don’t really get more artistic than that. There are even photographers that use old digital cameras which tended to try to be more like film cameras in the past instead of the mobile computer imaging devices they are today. So they are out there, they just aren’t that popular and they are going to get drowned out by a world that is always looking for the next big great thing.
Now if you will excuse me I need to get prepared to respond to all the people that are going to send me messages asking where my photography website is, who are my clients, where are my wedding photography photos, what camera I use, why automatic focus is so important, and how my work looks like editorials.
I will also get a lot of photo editing wizards that will let me know how they will make my pictures look more fake and less natural. And we can’t forget the modeling agencies that will let me shoot all their models without paying me a cent, or the traveling models that really like my work and will be in my area October 12th-14th. I am going to stop there because I am about to cry.
Anyway just keep taking pictures that you like and enjoy. Use whatever camera you have and it will be fine. Capturing the moment is what is important not what camera you are using. It doesn’t matter what camera you have anyway because it will be obsolete in 6 months anyway and you can tell people why the pictures you took with it are garbage now. Okay I am really going to go cry now.
I love you guys, take care and God bless.
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