Tuesday, 2 April 2013

POV: A Problem For Traditional Photography?

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Recently published articles appearing in Poynter and Business Insider raise the point that Instagram can now process images in an instant rather than a lot minutes and hours with Photoshop or in a darkroom, and such images can make it to the front page of The New York Times.

As Megan Rose Dickey writes in her article in Business Insider:

"But the skills needed to make beautiful shots that are worthy of the cover of a newspaper continue to diminish rapidly."

There was a time when writing a letter required the skills of a writer or a calligrapher...and there was a time when making a photographic print required a darkroom expert...and there was a time when....etc. It will always be as such.

As photographers face the realities of an exciting era filled with new innovations, they must embrace them and evolve with them. The above photographs were made a few moments from each other...the top one using my iPhone with Hipstamatic, while the bottom one using a Leica M9. Both are photographs and both are exemplars of different photographic tools...yes, one took a little more thought than the other in terms of clicking the shutter and processing...but both have a place.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post in this blog comparing photographers or photojournalists clinging to their glorious past as people breathlessly running after a Third World public bus on a pot-holed road, with young and eager passengers hanging like a bunch of grapes from its doors and windows....with no available toe-holds in sight. 

So let's be smart....let's learn multimedia, Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, Soundslides...audio techniques...learn DSLR videography....let's use Twitter & Facebook intelligently...do anything to find a toe-hold...let's use Instagram, Hipstamatic and the rest of them to complement our arsenal of tools, and get our work bought, seen and appreciated.

If not, we'll be left inhaling exhaust fumes from the metaphorical Third World bus.