Huh? Am I crazy? Nope my eyes are open and my heart is eager
for the upcoming year.
Yes everything is in flux and moving too fast. Yes the
economy is still faltering and markets are precarious. And I’m certainly aware
that clients are tightening their already taught purse strings. I don’t care.
Why? Because we photographers, especially the ones who work
on location, are used to adversity. Things never go “as planned” in our work so
why should any of this really bother us? We always have to think on our feet,
adapt, adjust and bring back the goods.
How is this current state of transition any different? If
anything because of the newfound glory of all the digitally inspired niches and
their various info pipelines we have more opportunities for work.
Ok some venues are just not doing what they used to and as
such some kinds of photography are becoming “rarer than an honest politician”
but that’s not that big a deal. There was never really a big market for gritty
news and documentary work ever. Even during the 50-60’s with Look and Life
battling it out that was only a tiny fraction of all the photographic work out
there. Frankly I wonder where all the death and dying photo stories that get
the big photo awards ever get published anyhoo!
My prediction is this: With all the venues for reaching
potential customers now the power of compelling imagery is even more important to
cut through the din. This will require a different way of pricing/licensing
since your photos won’t be used in a specific given publication/advert space.
The photos will be used essentially everywhere but for a very short period of
time because in a blink everyone will have seen the image and the next time
they see it it will loose its impact. Ads will have to be generated more
quickly to keep up with saturation and as a result the photography will have to
That’s the ad/marketing dude stuff. For the news dudes we
are going to loose the vertical image because 99% of the venues for our work
will become screens which are horizontal. Forget the cover shot as there aren’t
covers anymore. Cool! We never liked verticals and cover shots, although
lucrative, were a ton of work and never really any fun. Also just as with the
advertising mess people are getting tired of sorting through all the
information clutter and are wanting a focused source of news that is relevant
and vetted. Newspapers/news magazines will mostly stop being printed and will
be online but not the same as they were. But their need for serious content
will be just like the old days if not more. With things happening so fast we
need to be plugged in to the news stream more than ever. I mean who are you
going to trust to give you the skinny on that mess in City Council, some dudes
blog? Who is going to sort out this whole deal with the scandal with the Governor?
A “citizen journalist” who by day works at the car dealership? The guys who run
news organizations are going to realize that the simple puff pieces that they
ran for the last decade don’t cut it anymore and they have to go back to doing hard
news, investigative news to survive. Now from a classic news photographer’s
perspective, how can that be bad?
I’m not a soothsayer by any means. I have no crystal ball but
peering into my beer glass of wonder I’m still pretty certain that although
things are making many of us feel rather sea sick, it’s going to be a fun
although bumpy ride.
As for me I have 4 personal projects in the works, one quite
long term, new energy and fresh ideas and a decidedly confident attitude about
2010. New work, new clients, new horizons.
Happy photo to go with the prior delusional rant: A quick
snap from my phone. BTW this is an ice cream shop made to look like a milk jug. The thing is about 35 feet tall.
although not as good, as the Nikon D1 which changed everything for photographers
a decade ago. The D1 made millions of film photographers cower in fear that the digital photography revolution was at their door while others embraced what it brought. My phone,
my lovely Google G1, seems to represent the current digital fear – compact and
instant information access and “The death of print”. With its 3G/WiFi
connectivity with full web browsing and e-mail along with a digital camera and
camcorder that allows me to shoot a photo/video, write a story to go with it
and upload it all from a device that costs less than $200 and fits into my
pocket. Our tools are pretty Sci-Fi so shouldn’t our mentality be too?
BTW,it cracks me up to think that my phone has more resolution,