What an interesting week it has been. This past Friday (the day before a long holiday weekend), on impulse, and feeling a little lazy, I shared a link on Facebook to a blog that I had written 8 months ago, How Motion is Changing the Future of Photography. I didn’t expect to get thousands of hits in 2 days time – it had barely gotten noticed when I posted it the first time, back in February, 2013.
What had happened was that Rob Haggart linked to it from his blog, APhotoEditor and it went viral after that – all around the world. That’s what amazes me about the age we live in, that something someone says, or writes can be heard globally in record time. It truly demonstrates the power of “one”. It’s staggering and something I never would have imagined some 35 years ago when I began my career as a still photographer. In fact, most of what is happening now in photography. I never could have imagined – not in my grandest dreams.
What surprised me most about the comments I received from that post, was that most folks just couldn’t begin to imagine the future that I was contemplating in my writings. With the convergence of cameras, in regards to stills and video, I imagined a future, where a still image might not be captured by a “still camera” or by a “still photographer” for that matter. A still image may come from a “frame grab” captured by a video camera. I struck a nerve for sure, and most people thought I was predicting the demise of still photographs – perhaps because of Ron’s headline, excerpted from my text “ I think we are at a tipping point as far as the future of the still photography business”.
To be clear, I do think the photography “business” is at a tipping point, but not just because of the convergence of still and video cameras, but because of the glut of imagery. The iPhone has been the game changer in that sense. Everyone has become a photographer and has a camera on them at all times, taking, sending and sharing millions of still images globally every day. What that means in terms of the still photography industry is that if you want to stay in business as a professional photographer, you will need to create something that is authentic and unique to only you AND more importantly, you will need to provide a product or service that a market is willing to pay for – and pay enough that will sustain you in an industry that requires a reinvestment in tech and gear every two years, minimally.
In my attempt to “get off easy”, by rerunning a blog that I had written and previously posted more than a half a year ago, I learned a couple of things:
- Timing is everything
- It’s all perspective.
That’s the one good thing about getting older; I have a lot more perspective. I’ve learned that the future is not at all like I imagined it would be. I never could have imagined half the things that are happening right now. And I’m sure that if I’m still alive 20 years from now, it will be a future filled with things and ideas that I could never even begin to imagine.
I will be moderating a panel at PPE this year, sponsored by ASMP “How Motion is Changing the Future of Still Photography”. Our panelists include, Vincent LaForet, Brian Storm and Chase Jarvis. Join us, it will be a discussion you won’t want to miss.