…the less people there are who look like real photographers out in the field.
Hence, the more the real photographers stand out. (Yes, I am calling phone photographers not real photographers–to me they’re not.)
Not to take anything away from phone photographers–they’re documenting their world for a moment’s look. They’re notetaking their life. That’s not bad or wrong, it’s just not photography.
Beginning in 1839 there were photographers. They had big cameras on big tripods, they understood the chemistry and knew how to use the tools of their profession.
Then there were Kodak Brownie box cameras starting in 1900 that made ‘everyone a photographer’, only not really. In the 1910s and 1920s, there were discussions among pros and even in the Kodak literature sent to photo studios about how the Brownie crowd was no competition for the real photographers.
The Brownie shooters weren’t ‘real’ photographers. (Yes, I am calling Brownie photographers not real photographers–to me they’re not.)
“You push the button and Kodak does the rest.”
We’ve gone back to that same situation. Most people aren’t carrying cameras. They have their phones and that’s all. They’re snapshooters with their pocket Brownie phone cameras.
“You push the button and Apple does the rest.”
Those who are left carrying cameras and lenses and gear bags, they are becoming an exclusive group, they’re now the only ones left seen as photographers and that’s a good thing. They can use that exclusivity, use the camera as a tool to approach anyone, chat with folks, request to make a photograph.
They are the photographers and they’re becoming rare, similar to a writer at a coffee shop with a typewriter–they’re different than what is mostly seen.
The more ubiquitous the phone camera becomes, the more the perception of the real photographer grows. As more people resolve that the phone is good enough for them, they can’t be bothered with cameras and lenses, it’s like a sea of people adopting the Kodak Brownie of today–sure it takes a ‘good enough’ photo, but nothing that real photographers take seriously.
Photographers seek excellence, not ‘good enough’.
PHOTOGRAPHERS MAKE PHOTOGRAPHS.
The ‘phone’ photographers have phone texts and social media as the domain where their photography lives, as short-lived as that may be, but that is their venue. They create images for a glance and a swipe, to get a heart or thumbs up, the dopamine kicks in and they’re happy and done. Never need to see those snapshots again.
The ‘camera’ photographers have prints, gallery shows–actual work that is displayed and collected, that is their domain. They move in the circle of photography, visiting camera stores, meeting other photographers, attending photography events.
There may be a desire for the camera photographers to join the phone shooters in the online world, but that’s not where their work lives. Theirs is a camera as tool/photograph as craft/print as expression medium.
It’s not about the quick but the lasting. Photographers use the tools of photography to create bodies of work. They create thematic photo projects. They work toward making published books.
They gather with other photographers. They attend gallery shows for all kinds of art, not only photography, for they too are artists.
They’re photographers making their life’s work, a body of pictures created to last. To tell their story and it’s not a short story. It’s not just glance-worthy, it’s their worldview, their artist’s vision. One that they cannot not tell.
They’re easy to find.
They’re the ones with the real cameras.
A generation from now we’re going to recognize photos from this era by their wonky, distorted point of view that comes from the ultra-wide-angle lenses these phone cameras use.
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I completely agree with you! Just because someone owns a phone with a camera, this does not mean that they are a photographer. If anything, it makes them someone who owns a phone, nothing more.
I completely disagree. I’m removing your blog from my reading rotation.
Now that is a silly thing to do. I also disagree with a LOT of mr. Wajda’s opinions in this blog, and I completely agree with some. Having differing or even opposing views isn’t a reason to stop communicating with each other. No, it should be a great opportunity for ever more fruitful conversations!
Sure, it’s comfortable to (only) hang with like-minded people, but you miss a lot of chances to learn. Having good long conversations with people who have completely different opinions than yours makes you really think what is behind your own opinions.
I’ll continue to read this blog and I’ll continue to nod to some opinions here and some others will make me think that mr. Wajda is completely silly. And then some things might make me think and who knows maybe in the end to alter my own opinions.
And perhaps some day we’ll meet and can have a heated conversation over a beer or two and no matter how far (or even farther!) away from each orher our opinions may still be in the end of it, we can smile and shake hands and say it was nice to meet you.
Good life is not about living in a bubble with like-minded people, it’s about accepting and respecting everybody. As long as, of course, they’re not harming anybody or anyone’s human rights.
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