Gentle


Dandelion.

What is it?

A weed? A flower?

We started this discussion yesterday. Since I like nature’s offerings, I think this is a wildflower. It’s fragile. You can blow a dandelion away in a couple of seconds. Its seeds will be scattered. You’ll be sneezing. You’ll deserve it.

Don’t mess with Mother Nature.

Don’t mess with anything. Leave it alone if you find it on a walk. It’s not yours. Make a picture like I do. Walk away. I have what I needed. I didn’t handle it.

Look at it. It’s the first time that I’ve thought to photograph a dandelion straight down. And, I left it right where I found it.

So.

So many pictures. I promised this discussion yesterday. It’s prompted by two blogs that I read. One, by a friend, and one on Photoblographer, an online magazine.

My buddy was talking about getting back into posting after a layoff because he retired, moved, and in general, he ripped up his old life. He was talking about creativity to which I replied that most photographers aren’t creative. They follow each other around taking the pictures that their peers did before them. I said that they should stay away from tripod holes. And, find their own picture.

Photoblographer broke yet another story of a photographer cheating and winning a lot of money in a contest. He presented a picture of a Vietnamese woman and her two young children as something he just sort of stumbled upon. To him it was either photojournalism or documentary photography.

It wasn’t either.

Another picture revealed the truth. There must have been a dozen photographers taking the same picture. They were either a group being lead in a photo walkabout. Or, they were taking a workshop and the woman and her children were hired models.

No way in hell is that photojournalism.

I expected the comments to just destroy this cheating photographer. That’s what usually happens. Oh no. Most of the writers tried to justify what the cheating photographer had done. They split hairs saying that the scene was real even though a group of photographers was taken there to take the picture.

What?

The entire scene was staged and by extension, every picture that was there was also staged.

A couple of commentors not only split hairs, but said that so many pictures were being produced on a daily basis that the people who saw the picture would either forget it, or just wouldn’t care.

Huh?

When did we become so jaded that honesty stopped mattering?

They all said that the leading picture social media site — Instagram — had something like a billion pictures being posted every hour. That’s a lot of pictures. To be more precise, that’s a lot of bad pictures. A lot of derivative pictures. A lot of scenes that were designed to be Instagramable. A helluva a lot of free marketing and publicity. And, a lot of selfies.

When did photographing — or, rather taking snapshots — matter so much that people trample all over everything in order to stick their face in front of some scene? That trampling all over the massive spring blooms in California looking for perfect selfie matters more than the flowers themselves. When did losing your life in order to take a selfie at the Grand Canyon become more important than just enjoying the place?

Sure, over the length of my career I’ve been in some sporty places, photographing some scary things. But, documenting those subjects mattered. I wasn’t trying to take a picture of my face in front of something. And, I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing and how to mitigate the risks.

So.

So many pictures.

I just hope it slows down soon. I can say this after almost 50 years of making pictures, sometimes it just isn’t worth it. These days when I find myself standing in front of some kind of beauty, I make a conscious decision not to make the picture. To stand there and just enjoy the moment. To let it soak in. After all, it’s way better for my soul, my heart and my brain.

And, you?

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