Tagged With « sharing »
This weeks blog is angry and to the point. The only question is whether or not I should “name names” in terms the parties whose arrogance and stupidity prompted this rant. The obvious reason not to name them is because I might be “burning bridges.” There is actually another, arguably more important reason not to name them. Read on to see what I am so annoyed about and what my thinking is on the question of naming names.
I have been blogging since August of 2008, initially twice a week and more recently once a week. I have learned a lot of different things in that process. I know myself much better as person, as a writer and as a photographer. I know the blogosphere much better and I know blogging itself much, much better. Today’s blog will explore some of the things that I have learned over the last 45 months as a “blogger.”
Last week I blogged about what I now call “instant editing.” The idea was to share the top forty or sixty images from one day’s shoot with about ten peers right at the end of the day’s photographing in order to get some input on how to improve when photographing the next day. Last week, I talked about how I started this process (and why I hope to use it more in the future.) This week I want to share some of the comments that I received from my “reviewers.” What I found so interesting was not just what they said about the work, but how they said it. Their thinking is so compelling that I wanted to share it in order to possibly help others edit sets of images in the future.
When I was younger, I envisioned the end of the business as a nightmarish world where editors would seem to be working inside my head, through some futuristic technology, telling me where to stand and when to push the button. My great fear was having the imaginary editor see what I was looking at through my camera, telling me (through a seemingly permanent earpiece) what to include or exclude and when to click. When that day arrived, I said that I was sure I would quit the business. The onslaught of live television broadcasting, as it overwhelmed the still image, only exacerbated my worst fear. At first I thought digital imaging would be the technology to drive the last nails into the coffin. A recent informal experiment proved that, at least for me, the future is not so grim and I actually have digital imaging to thank for a bit of new optimism.
(Disclaimer, I am a workshop teacher as well as a veteran professional photographer)
I am a professional photographer. I am VERY proud of the fact that I make my living through my photography. I have been lucky in that most people who pay to use my work appreciate the skills it took me decades to master. I have, over time, expanded my repertoire to include workshop teaching. Over a period of years I have been working to master and excel in the process of helping others get better at their photography. As I have been doing this, I have been reminded again and again, that teaching is like any other skill: It involves practice and takes decades to fully master. Also, much like publication photography itself, the world of photography workshops is being flooded with people who have little or no skill as educators.
I just finished teaching a series of photography workshops in Asia, including my favorite photo-essay class. In that workshop, students initially practice the skills required for a long-term photo-essay AND then they start working on the project of their choosing. I show them how the hardest part of a good essay is defining the project. I was reminded in Singapore how a good workshop group, one that is willing to share ideas, can make that process of defining a project much easier. Just as this was happening, I was also having an e-mail exchange with an American photographer, who seemed concerned about keeping his project idea to himself. I am still trying to figure out if the diverging thinking on sharing ideas was an aberration, or if it tells us something about the difference between Singaporean and American mindsets.
I read a number of on-line forums every day. My morning reading, which once was largely a leisurely enjoyment of the New York Times, now entails scanning the eight forums I read daily to see what items of interest are percolating through the world of photography. I rarely post on most forums, since I am not sure I have much to offer that hasn’t already been said. I recently posted on a forum and the thread that resulted taught me a lot about the state of contemporary professional photography.
In the first part of this two-part entry, I explored old and new models for information sharing information on the best practices in the business of photography. Last week, I “framed “the question and gave some useful examples of open sourcing of business information. This week, I will do my part by going into my business model, making my own small contribution to the process of open sourcing the business side of photography.
A friend recently posted a thought-provoking comment about one of my September blog posts on The Wells Point site. The blog entry was titled: “Going pro vs doing photography for love, not money.” One question he raised in his comment was so good that I wrote him back, saying I would answer him in a blog post. So here goes.