Monday, June 25, 2007

Undervalued Occupation: Photography

Photography, one of our latest ventures has become something of a unvalued art. It used to be that people appreciated the experience and shots a photographer would make and understand the value of a photo.

Lately from what we gather is that photographers have been relegated to the past tense. It seems that there are a variety of reasons for this. For one, going digital has meant that even the untrained person can take a photo, look at it instantly, and take another if it was so needed. In addition to that, reasonable quality cameras can be had for low dollars. Companies can then send an employee who is untrained to an event to snap a few pictures without the need of a full time photographer. It then becomes economically prudent to not have a full time photog.

Another reason is the desire of the current generation to just have content period. When news agencies start using photos that some random person took instead of a professional it really becomes evident the lack of appreciation people have for the art. I'm sure most of us have heard the phrase "A picture tells a 1000 words", and indeed a good picture can. It's not something that usually comes from a camera phone. More well known blogs employ this method, producing and endless stream of crummy composed or out of focus shots that do little than to maybe raise the ire of their readers, if that.

There are a lot of defining photos out there. For most of us, there are simply iconic photos, like the flag raising at Iwo Jima, the photo of Muhammad Ali standing over Liston, and photos of 9/11. Photos that seemingly stop time. Ansel Adams once said that "A good photograph is knowing where to stand", one might reasonably add, "at the right time" too.

Most people take for granted the settings that photographers know what to adjust to get the picture right, because the camera they have does it automatically. What most point-and-shoot users don't know is how to change the settings, to change the picture, the bring focus to a certain aspect of something that can completely change the way you view the photo. Setting up a good composed photo is the difference between the guy with the camera phone, and the photographer with years of experience and training.

It would be a shame to think that in the future our news and memories would become images uploaded to internet and printed without thought to photo. It's a shame to think that photos are just part of the story, when in some cases they can tell the entire story, instantly. Both capturing and giving emotions with out saying a word.

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