Sunday, September 9, 2012

Photography for the masses

In a recent article from the New York Times, James Estrin makes a point that with the advent of cellphone cameras and instagram, millions of very ordinary and common images have flooded the internet through Flickr, Facebook and other social media/photo sharing websites. And that many would-be photographers are crying 'What to do .... what to do?' fearing that their work will get buried in the mire of mediocrity (sometimes I just can't resist a little word fun). But he also makes the point that the coming of writing pads and pencils/pens to most of humanity did not result in a flood of Shakespeares or Miltons.

Actually, availability of the tools of creativity, no matter what the medium, has generally had the same effect on most people. When, having access pen and paper, musical instrument, high or low tech photography gear, etc., people try their hand at a craft, they can realize a much clearer understanding of how much effort is involved in manifesting artistic inspiration, and so doing can develop a much greater appreciation for those who have made the pursuit of their vision into a lifetime quest.

In other words, it can't hurt.

As I walked through Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo, and the West Village today (it was a beautiful day for un flaneur) I saw all kinds of cameras hanging on necks and shoulders. Digital photography has made the medium wonderfully accessible to everyone - no bother developing film or printing in a darkroom - just click and play (on the computer). And I noticed quite a few streettogs lurking in dark shadows, waiting for the 'decisive moment'. Street photography is flourishing in New York City, which is probably one of the two or three greatest cities in the world in which to practice it.

I got lucky with this shot. But to get lucky as often as I do requires that I have my camera with me and ready to shoot all the time, that I have dedicated chunks of my time to do nothing but get out and shoot, and that I study my craft by poring over the works of the masters every chance I get.



'Whew, something smells fishy!'