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Author Topic: End of traditional photography?  (Read 14762 times)
Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #40 on: April 03, 2010, 03:53:16 PM »
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... For people that shot people shots on far-flung beaches, in paddy fields, in cityscapes, on boats etc. the chance for enjoying the buzz of the days of travelling somewhere to do that has already shrunk a lot; maybe this signals the end... little else about photography is remotely exciting enough to warrant spending your life doing it for survival...
It just occurred to me there is a parallel in another once-glamorous profession: pilots and flight attendants (or as they were known in my youth: stewardesses... the now politically incorrect term for reasons I would never fathom). Gone are the days when they would fly to Paris or Singapore and have a layover of several days there, with classy hotels and per diems paid, and nothing else to do but to sightsee, shop and kill the time in the most enjoyable way. Passengers would treat flying like a night at the opera and dress and behave accordingly. Pay was accordingly good, among the best. And nowadays? Nothing more than fancier dressed waitresses, overworked and underpaid (and no tips). Pilots' average salaries (and work hours and lifestyle) approach taxi or truck drivers' ones.

There you go, Rob... feeling better?
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Slobodan

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feppe
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« Reply #41 on: April 03, 2010, 05:16:25 PM »
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I do not see all that many amateurs willing to learn/afford even more abstract software and join in that particular race. For a start, as amateurs they have the freedom of choice, of doing what they think is fun, which presumably is shooting pictures.

I'm not sure that's the case at all. The freedom of choice gives us the luxury of concentrating on the aspects of photography we enjoy, rather than on the aspects which might make more sellable pictures, or take us there faster or cheaper. Looking at any random non-pro photography forum it's 75% about gear, 20% about software, and 5% photography - and I'm being generous for the photo part.

I photograph when I travel and increasingly in studio for portraits and glamour, and strive to get better at photography with composition, light, color, etc., and trying to say something coherent in each picture. But I also enjoy the software part in the pursuit of that coherence. Gear is mainly a means to an end, although I do drool over the concept of S2 or 645D even though I can't see justifying the cost for myself.

There are many gear fetishist amateurs who are in it for the toys, and don't care so much about the photography. Nothing wrong with that - good for them if that's what they enjoy.

So I would say that amateurs are the driver for much of photography gear and software development.

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For people that shot people shots on far-flung beaches, in paddy fields, in cityscapes, on boats etc. the chance for enjoying the buzz of the days of travelling somewhere to do that has already shrunk a lot; maybe this signals the end. It may also mean that fewer creative, curious minds that once sought that very thrill will survive or ever exist in pro photography again. It was only because it formed part of the possible that many of us actually had those pro pho dreams and managed to turn them into fact for ourselves; little else about photography is remotely exciting enough to warrant spending your life doing it for survival.

I know a relatively successful travel photogapher with a writer/producer wife who travels half a year, and edits, markets and sells during the other half. The traveling part sounds glamorous, but they go to so many places and spend so little time in each they have very little (if any) time to enjoy it.

I'm sure there was more glamour in photography in the past, and there still is - I can't fathom shooting this could be a drag no matter how much sand you have in your shorts  But for the vast majority I would imagine photography is just another way to pay the bills.

As Slobodan alluded in the previous post, glamour is fleeting and changing. Hollywood used to be glamorous; as much as I enjoy Johnny Depp and Salma Hayek, they have absolutely nothing on Bogie or Ingrid Bergman when it comes to star appeal.

But much of that has to do with mystery of the process itself. Back in the days of Casablanca and North By Northwest there was no behind-the-scenes footage or director's commentary. What people saw on the silver screen was almost magical even though people knew it was fake. Now we know exactly how those blue creatures were created in 3D in Avatar.

Same with photography. While roll film brought photography to the masses, it was only the ubiquity and instant feedback of digital along with cheap or free post-processing with PS Elements or Picasa which tore down the last bit of mystery from photography. Someone creates a unique look, and within days we have dozens of draganizers or over-cooked HDR plugins and softwares which get to the same end-result, sometimes with a single click.

I would be the first one to say that free access and sharing of knowledge and techniques is welcome. But I also wish there was more mystery so people would still say oohs and aahs, instead of "Oh cool picture. I see what you did there, you jacked up the high-pass filter, desaturated the highlights, applied post-crop vignetting and increased yellow levels; can't wait to try this at home and put it on my blog so we'll have a million copycats in hours!"

The optimist in me says that we'll have stunning photography from this era for future generations of curators - but right now there's so much of it it's hard to say which is truly good, which just a passing fad.
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Rob C
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« Reply #42 on: April 04, 2010, 03:23:57 AM »
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Quote from: Slobodan Blagojevic
It just occurred to me there is a parallel in another once-glamorous profession: pilots and flight attendants (or as they were known in my youth: stewardesses... the now politically incorrect term for reasons I would never fathom). Gone are the days when they would fly to Paris or Singapore and have a layover of several days there, with classy hotels and per diems paid, and nothing else to do but to sightsee, shop and kill the time in the most enjoyable way. Passengers would treat flying like a night at the opera and dress and behave accordingly. Pay was accordingly good, among the best. And nowadays? Nothing more than fancier dressed waitresses, overworked and underpaid (and no tips). Pilots' average salaries (and work hours and lifestyle) approach taxi or truck drivers' ones.

There you go, Rob... feeling better?





Yes, an almost religious (if topical) feeling: a comfirmation of my own thoughts and experiences! The only fly in the ointment? The Singapore bit: the S.A. stewardesses were even prettier that the model I took there; made me think, too late, that there was something to hiring locally... I should have believed the airline's commercials! On the other hand, it might just be something they slip into those little hot towels.

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #43 on: April 04, 2010, 03:53:03 AM »
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Quote from: feppe
this[/url] could be a drag no matter how much sand you have in your shorts  But for the vast majority I would imagine photography is just another way to pay the bills.


Hi feppe

Your mention of the travel couple confirms, more or less, what I was told by the head of one of Spain's top stock libraries: to succeed in that genre, you have to be constantly on the move, use very low cost overnighters and, preferrably, live in a tent.

That was very far from my experience with travelling to shoot fashion or calendars; we lived high on the hog, much more so than I could have happily afforded using my own money. (That was one of the main attractions to moving to Spain to live, stock largely on my mind: beach and mountain locations at the doorstep without many added expenses!) In fact, I would say that apart from the pure pleasure of creating images - the fountain of the interest in photography - the possibility of travel abroad (I lived in Scotland at the time - living in similar climates you will understand the attraction) was very potent stuff fuelling the appetite for the type of work I did. There is a beautiful corruption in being paid to have a good time!

"for the vast majority I would imagine photography is just another way to pay the bills." Again, you are so accurate. I met with that on my very first job as a trainee in an industrial unit. Apart from another younger chap there, I was the only guy to talk about 'famous' photographers in a nice way or perhaps in any way, or even to think much about the job. I never could understand why those guys were in the business; what we did was so damn dull, the same thing, day after day after day. But it did provide an excellent learning opportunity because nothing was held back by cost: you did whatever you did until it was right. Dear God, what a contrast to the attitude I discovered when I went out on my own and had to use commercial colour labs for the first time!

But, I honestly do think that those exciting days are close to over. I wonder just how long SI will keep doing those specials either; they do raise the best sales of the year for them, but if the rest of the year becomes a slippery slope...

But we gotta keep hoping!

Rob C
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feppe
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« Reply #44 on: April 04, 2010, 04:05:28 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
But, I honestly do think that those exciting days are close to over. I wonder just how long SI will keep doing those specials either; they do raise the best sales of the year for them, but if the rest of the year becomes a slippery slope...

There was a MSNBC special on SI Swimsuit Issue in which they claimed the issue and tie-ins have generated a billion of revenue since its inception. They are doing some pretty innovative tie-ins, and have even managed to increase ad revenues year-on-year. Here a good recap.

And I'd love to move to Spain to follow my parents - if only their economy there was in better shape (read: more jobs).
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Rob C
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« Reply #45 on: April 05, 2010, 05:21:33 AM »
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Quote from: feppe
There was a MSNBC special on SI Swimsuit Issue in which they claimed the issue and tie-ins have generated a billion of revenue since its inception. They are doing some pretty innovative tie-ins, and have even managed to increase ad revenues year-on-year. Here a good recap.

And I'd love to move to Spain to follow my parents - if only their economy there was in better shape (read: more jobs).



Thanks, feppe, I did catch that programme on statellite some time back; lovely girls -as they always use - but I have a feeling that some of the older shooters managed to make more of the opportunity. But then I have that feeling about the Pirelli Calendars too, so it may just be my own particular age-trap making its presence felt.

Moving to Spain: I don't think I would advise it unless one is fluent in either of the major languages. Also, the country is full of very talented photographers already, as I soon discovered almost thirty years ago! For anyone still getting their pennies from the UK, the good old days of the pound have vanished - much as the lost Dmark means so much less in euro terms. Personally, I think that the idea of a Common Market was excellent: we all live relatively close together and have broadly similar religious and legal ideals; but going further into monetary unity has destroyed independence of financial flexibility, something that Spain in particular seems to crave, if only in an effort to turn its tourism business around. It is just too expensive now: being trapped in an euro economy, it can no longer compete with other countries that are outwith the zone and free to pitch their currency as suits them.

There is also a huge problem with immigration from northern Africa. Many came over to labour on road-building and on other building sites which have gone into paralysis and show no sign of recovery - quite the reverse. Of those people, some are here legally and many not legally - sans benefit of social security for many of them and only short-term security for most, the future looks to be one of increasing desperation and inevitable crime in order to survive. I suppose that's one advantage of living on an island: harder to invade or vanish after committing something - there are few others! Oh yes, forgot - fewer caravans...

Rob C
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feppe
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« Reply #46 on: April 05, 2010, 08:42:50 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Thanks, feppe, I did catch that programme on statellite some time back; lovely girls -as they always use - but I have a feeling that some of the older shooters managed to make more of the opportunity. But then I have that feeling about the Pirelli Calendars too, so it may just be my own particular age-trap making its presence felt.

Moving to Spain: I don't think I would advise it unless one is fluent in either of the major languages. Also, the country is full of very talented photographers already, as I soon discovered almost thirty years ago! For anyone still getting their pennies from the UK, the good old days of the pound have vanished - much as the lost Dmark means so much less in euro terms. Personally, I think that the idea of a Common Market was excellent: we all live relatively close together and have broadly similar religious and legal ideals; but going further into monetary unity has destroyed independence of financial flexibility, something that Spain in particular seems to crave, if only in an effort to turn its tourism business around. It is just too expensive now: being trapped in an euro economy, it can no longer compete with other countries that are outwith the zone and free to pitch their currency as suits them.

There is also a huge problem with immigration from northern Africa. Many came over to labour on road-building and on other building sites which have gone into paralysis and show no sign of recovery - quite the reverse. Of those people, some are here legally and many not legally - sans benefit of social security for many of them and only short-term security for most, the future looks to be one of increasing desperation and inevitable crime in order to survive. I suppose that's one advantage of living on an island: harder to invade or vanish after committing something - there are few others! Oh yes, forgot - fewer caravans...

Rob C

Spain has been #2 tourist destination in the world for years, I don't see it losing that position any time soon. They've had euro since 2001 IIRC so the very limited impact that has had on price levels is already well understood. Not sure what you're getting at with the deutsche mark and euro comments, but fiscal policy is national while monetary policy is common in the euro area. There are restrictions on national fiscal policy, though, but this is not the place for those discussions or debate on immigration policy.

I'm not a pro photographer so the number of photographers there doesn't matter to me.
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Rob C
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« Reply #47 on: April 05, 2010, 11:51:29 AM »
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Quote from: feppe
Spain has been #2 tourist destination in the world for years, I don't see it losing that position any time soon. They've had euro since 2001 IIRC so the very limited impact that has had on price levels is already well understood. Not sure what you're getting at with the deutsche mark and euro comments, but fiscal policy is national while monetary policy is common in the euro area. There are restrictions on national fiscal policy, though, but this is not the place for those discussions or debate on immigration policy.

I'm not a pro photographer so the number of photographers there doesn't matter to me.




Simple: when the Germans had the Dmark they held power in their wallets; with the euro they hold euros that neither grow nor shrink in relative value between euro countries. With the Dmark they just got richer and richer compared with almost all other currencies.

Regarding Spain. Since they got the euro, the cost of living for Spaniards has rocketed. They never did earn as highly as the Germans nor, for that matter, the British. Nothing about the euro raised salaries, only prices. I remember very clearly sitting in a bar in Spain on the day that the euro was introduced. The price of a coffee literally doubled overnight. Not much, you might say... well, so did all the food market prices go up, everything there being translated from peseta to euro at the official rate (where the local vendors understood how to do it) and then rounded up, which they certainly did understand!

Spain might well have been the no.1 or no.2 tourist destination, but don't forget that for many regions the British were even larger a percentage of visitor than the Germans. Those numbers are shrinking fast because of the strong euro and weak pound (though God knows why it should be weak, other than because of speculators, when the UK job figures are so much better than the pan-European ones), with non-euro currency areas taking up the missing tourists. Look at the number of unsold, unfinishd apartments here and the hairs on the back of your scalp should rise in fear. That construction boom was  partly where the African migrant found labouring work that has now gone, whether or not you approve of such facts being aired here. Extend that to similar situations throughout Europe to all manner of industrial sectors and perhaps US gun laws start to make some sense; an old guy like me can't rely on martial arts (even if he knew any which he sure doesn't!) when the french windows on the terrace start opening in the middle of the night.

Rob C
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« Reply #48 on: April 05, 2010, 12:53:30 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Simple: when the Germans had the Dmark they held power in their wallets; with the euro they hold euros that neither grow nor shrink in relative value between euro countries. With the Dmark they just got richer and richer compared with almost all other currencies.

Regarding Spain. Since they got the euro, the cost of living for Spaniards has rocketed. They never did earn as highly as the Germans nor, for that matter, the British. Nothing about the euro raised salaries, only prices. I remember very clearly sitting in a bar in Spain on the day that the euro was introduced. The price of a coffee literally doubled overnight. Not much, you might say... well, so did all the food market prices go up, everything there being translated from peseta to euro at the official rate (where the local vendors understood how to do it) and then rounded up, which they certainly did understand!

Spain might well have been the no.1 or no.2 tourist destination, but don't forget that for many regions the British were even larger a percentage of visitor than the Germans. Those numbers are shrinking fast because of the strong euro and weak pound (though God knows why it should be weak, other than because of speculators, when the UK job figures are so much better than the pan-European ones), with non-euro currency areas taking up the missing tourists. Look at the number of unsold, unfinishd apartments here and the hairs on the back of your scalp should rise in fear. That construction boom was  partly where the African migrant found labouring work that has now gone, whether or not you approve of such facts being aired here. Extend that to similar situations throughout Europe to all manner of industrial sectors and perhaps US gun laws start to make some sense; an old guy like me can't rely on martial arts (even if he knew any which he sure doesn't!) when the french windows on the terrace start opening in the middle of the night.

Rob C

Not sure where your tourism figures are from, but Spain is still in the second or third spot depending on the metric used, and in the top 10 in tourism competitiveness suggesting it'll continue to do just fine. I see the abandoned building sites every year, but the infrastructure to support almost 60 million tourists is already there, the sun will still shine, and people will still come. It might not be the British tourists, but to throw anecdotal evidence I've seen a massive increase in Chinese tourists in Murcia, for example.

Blaming the Euro or EU for Spain's inflation isn't supported by historical trends: Spain has traditionally had higher inflation rate than then rest of western Europe, even before the launch of the euro.

There was some inflation everywhere in Europe when countries join the euro as vendors take that as an opportunity to do some rounding up. I can't imagine it being any more in Spain than elsewhere. In any case, the euro launch caused very limited real inflation, but the perception was of much higher inflation due to sensationalist and/or anti-euro press coverage, and people latching onto outrageous outlier cases like the coffee example you gave. It's exactly the same as can be seen in the UK with crime statistics: crime levels are at its lowest in a decade while people feel less safe than in the past due to grisly incidental crimes being overreported, ignoring how overall violent crime levels have dwindled.

If you want guns, the laws for buying and owning them in Finland and Switzerland are quite liberal. The rights to defend yourself or property with them is another matter. For that you indeed would have to move to one of the US States which have a Stand Your Ground law.

Anyway, I'm done with this on this forum.
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Rob C
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« Reply #49 on: April 05, 2010, 02:20:21 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
If you want guns, the laws for buying and owning them in Finland and Switzerland are quite liberal. The rights to defend yourself or property with them is another matter. For that you indeed would have to move to one of the US States which have a Stand Your Ground law.

Anyway, I'm done with this on this forum.




Me too, but I never said I wanted guns: what I indicated was that the need is ever a more real situation.

Regarding inflation here in Spain: forget 'official figures' and believe what I have experienced in thirty years of it. The inflation in Spain was mainly driven by the property market and generally hit second-home buyers more than national buyers (who still, of course, were affected). Why? because foreigners bought in different developments designed for them - virtually ghettos, exclusive or otherwise. Even more importantly, nationals knew how to buy. The property market used to be partly white and partly black economics, with few foreigners able to understand or avail themelves of the advantages - or, indeed, dangers therein. Considering a house is the most expensive thing most people experience buying, it represents a huge part of inflationary cost. Because second homes bought by foreigners played such a huge part in the property market, that market was able to zoom, exactly as happens within England and Wales too, with pleasant villages and coastal towns being bought up by Londoners with huge wallets who then price locals right out of the competition. I saw that even in the prettier parts of Scotland, where the price of a London flat translated into an estate!

As far as crime figures go, I trust street opinion far more than sanitized official claims, especially close to election times - i.e. in the UK right now. Considering that criminals are routinely thrown out of jail early there, because there just ain't space for 'em all inside, should tell you something pretty clearly about where the trend is headed - simple maths. I also have family back there and know how going back on visits shapes my perception of the changes going down and how comfortable I feel walking down the street. It has been a few years since I last walked on one at night unless just to where the car was parked and in the hope that I'd still find it there in one piece or even at all. Many don't.

Ciao

Rob C
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