photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography


mid life crisis

in General Rants , Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So why bother, really? Photography, I mean. Spending hours sifting through literally thousands of of globs digital dross in the hope of finding some kind of gem - always assuming I be able to recognise a gem if I found one, and of course ignoring the point that the question should be addressed before pressing the shutter. It often feels more like an obssessive compulsion, this hobby of mine, rather than a source of satisfaction and fulfilment. I do usually enjoy the process of taking the photos, but that may be more to do with place than process. And when it all comes down to it, I’m left feeling that it is all chaotic, purposeless, blindly repetitive: in summary, I just haven’t got a clue. At all.

Successful photography has direction and theme. In my opinion although individual photos may be successful, even greatly so, successful photographers need to demonstrate, repeatedly, that they can assemble a coherent body of work. They need to be able to convince the audience that they have pursued a well formulated intention. Throwing together a few photos after the act just doesn’t cut it. In other words, developing a conscious style is fundamental, and that’s where I really run into the buffers.

I’m pretty sure than any style I might be perceived to have is dictated by the camera. I mean, I’m pretty likely to take 4:3 ratio photos with an Olympus DSLR, and I’m going to tend to go for well lit and/or fairly immobile subjects.  I suppose I could argue that it was a conscious choice, but really, I just like the physical look, feel and style of the E-1 and it just carried on from there.

With the double blows of broadband internet and affordable digital cameras, photography has become very, very competitive, and is becoming much more about the photographer than the photograph. In fact there’s precious little danger of the camera being more important than the photographer these days - the camera is just another prop for the narcissistic. Just take a look at the most popular accounts on the major photography sites, and tell me that it isn’t all about ego and self-promotion. I mean frankly, are Rebekka’s photos that awesome ? Basically, no, they’re pretty average, actually sub-average considering the raw material she’s got to work with. And I don’t have anything against her (well, apart from the fact that she irritates the hell out of me), it’s just an example - but really, her fame has more to do with her, shall we say, personal characteristics, than her photography.

Whatever. Should it bother me? No. Does it? Well, clearly it does, to some degree.

The problem is there is just so much pressure to compete, and the sheer impossibility to stand out, or to do anything unique, or be part of any kind of meaningful community, is just wearing me down.

Of course, I’m starting to ramble. I’m losing the thread. I’m engaging in unwarranted and unfair diatribes against a person I don’t know in any way. I guess it’s symptomatic of the frustration of being unable to progress, unable to get noticed, unable to decide if I want to get noticed, and unable to decide if what I do has any merit.

Hey. Maybe I should buy a new lens.