Thursday, December 30, 2010

Photography and Instant Pudding

As the first decade of the new millennium comes to a close, I find myself asking where might it go from here? More importantly, at least to me, is where I might go from here? I'm guessing a few of you might be wondering the same; not about me but about yourselves.

The first decade of the 21st Century saw many changes in the world of photography: some have been exciting, some not so.

While photographic technologies leaped forward in amazing ways, the business of photography was pushed against a wall, certainly from the perspectives of many who ply the trade as their vocation. What digital photography has done for photographers is similar to what instant pudding must have done for those who practiced the fine, culinary art of traditional pudding making. That is, it put making good pictures into the hands of the masses much the way instant pudding put good pudding into the mouths of many more pudding lovers. Some see developments like these as being positive. Others see them from less appreciative perspectives.

Don't get me wrong. I thoroughly love many of photography's technological advances of the last decade. But, at the same time, these advances have made making a living with cameras in my hands much more difficult.

Sure, cream rises to the top. And if cream I be, I'll rise. Perhaps not to the very top but in a generally upward direction. I'm not sure where that rising will take me but, hopefully, somewhere that makes me happy and content.

I don't pretend to have an accurate crystal ball, one that allows me to predict where photography will go in the next decade. Every time I watch an old science fiction movie, movies I'm quite fond of viewing, I'm amused by their (more often than not) inabilities to accurately predict where technology has gone in the last 30 or 40 or 50 years. Sometimes, of course, the writers and producers of those movies saw the future and predicted it with accuracy. Often, they did not.

I do have a wish-list for the future of photography. It's not about cameras and software. Instead, it mostly has to do with consumers of the pictures photographers make. I hope that quality will again trump mediocrity. In other words, I hope those people who hire photographers will raise the quality bar (from where it's been lowered to) and appreciate and embrace the work and results of skillful shutter snappers. I'm not saying that appreciation has completely fallen to the wayside but, in many ways, it's nowhere near where it once was.

Anyway, just some thoughts that popped into my head.

The pretty girl at the top is Rosemary from last night's shoot. Rosemary is Indonesian and, as such, she popped my Indonesian cherry, pretty girl shooting-wise.


Paps said...

More and more ppl are wondering where the world is going to. Related to the pretty girl shooting I came across the following article (NSFW as well):

jimmyd said...

@Paps: Thanks. I voted in the poll. Bet you might guess which way I voted. :-)

John said...

In the early days of the first Garage Glamour, I vaguely recall someone commenting that glamour is 85% the model, 10% photographic technique, and 5% photographer - or something along those lines. Basically, it just isn't that hard to produce mediocre images. And when it comes to pretty girls, the subject is probably more important than the photographer's vision.
Bottom line - the widespread acceptance of mediocre means that only those shooters who appeal to the broadest base of clients will be working exclusively in glamour.
On the other hand, there will always be a demand for commercial images for advertising.

jimmyd said...

@John: You're probly right. With glamour, it's more about the allure of the model than anything else. In fashion, it's probly 80% a combination of the model, the MUA, and stylist with the remaining 10% going to the photographer and 10% to the re-toucher.

Gene said...


First...who needs an "excuse" for nudity? OK that was my two cents worth there...

Second...instant pudding is still just that... instant pudding, lots are satisfied with it until they have real pudding. You have to know, see, taste, experience the difference...before you know, understand and want the difference. And yes, sadly...some will always choose instant pudding....just because.

Third...where is the future going? Well it's going where we take it. It's going where you/we set the bar.. It's going where we train, teach, and inspire new artists to aspire to be. If the new artist don't know the difference between real and instant do you think they will ever do anything but produce instant pudding?

Regardless of photo/digital genre...or what you personally belive is "photography" and what is not....many of the sites I visit.. especially this one... and many of the authors... you included.. are setting the bar pretty high.

As long as there are those setting the bar...and showing what has been done, what can be done...then the what "will" be done.. will take care of itself.

Later and hope you had a great Christmas and New Years!