Sometimes it’s art.
Mostly it isn’t. That’s the time in which we live.
I have a buddy who makes real, live travel videos. For National Geographic Traveler and clients at that level. He was on a great Facebook rant. He was getting tired of seeing some guy and that guy’s girlfriend taking empty and vacuous travel videos and then immediately selling their teaching services when they don’t know what they are doing or selling.
I was reading in a couple of places, about food photography. About how hard it is. Then I looked at the work. I saw ill-composed collections of bits of food that really made no sense. The pictures didn’t come close to classic food photography. At best, those kinds of pictures are a kind of still life. Real food photography takes a long time to create. It takes skills and techniques that most photographers never even heard about. And, a big studio with a working kitchen. Digital disruption hasn’t changed that.
Then there’s my favorite.
Travel photography. There’s a group of photographers who all know each other. They photograph the same things, which usually means they hike someplace far, use all the “latest techniques” of slow shutter speeds to make swirling and foggy water. They take pictures of each other. The pictures eventually start to look the same. They sell their workshops to each other and “newbie” photographers. The worst group of these guys are the ones who hang around OnOne. It’s long story how that happened. Not for nothing, OnOne makes software. They want to be a big digital community for the benefit of member photographers. They say. My cynical self says, no. They want an enclosed market… to sell digital software.
The photographers in each of these examples have no clients. They have no idea how to make a storytelling picture. They have no idea about deadlines. And, they have no idea how to make a group of pictures that hang together but don’t look the same.
Is this a rant?
My thoughts actually came from something I just read about what Congress really should be. The one that Senator John McCain keeps talking about. Before I write further, know this. I’m not his biggest fan. But, I do believe he cares about the country.
One particular word came up.
It’s a Greek word for the education of one another for the growth of citizenship. It’s done for free. It’s done by real experts. And, it’s done for the betterment of the country. It’s not being done right now.
As usual, I took that line of thinking a step further. Instead of trying to make a profit from other artists, why don’t we just try to make the art world a little better for free? Why? Just because. No other reason is needed.
Art is important. Veteran artists should teach. Those coming up behind them should want to listen.
Of course, that would mean the guys with about a year’s worth of experience would have to actually take the time to learn something and not sell what they learned 15 minutes ago to the next guy in line. It would also mean that they would have to produce something meaningful for a client who is paying really money and is demanding.
How about it? Can we do it?
The picture. Another dog walking picture. Even though I’m pretty busy these days, I’m not making the kind of work that I usually do. There are a couple of reasons for this. A couple of you who know me best, know why. However, the dogs demand walks and I always carry something with which to take a picture. And, I like to play in the digital studio. I’m starting to believe that my next level of art comes from a mix of working styles.