This has been a rough year for photojournalism. More highly qualified professional photojournalists have been let go by news organizations in favor of reporters with phones, freelancers and the public. Without stretching things at all I would say that the news product of today is much worse than it was a year ago. In my own circumstance I decided to take a buyout instead of staying around to see what would happen to the product and to the images my staff and I produced.
One thing I do know is that the images are smaller and the layouts of the papers are much worse than they were just two years ago. That being said, lets remember that the cause of all this is digital not any one person or organization. In general it has more to do with the internet and digital photography than anything else. Today everyone thinks they are a photographer without taking any more training than watching Youtube videos. So when images show up in an editors email and are free they get used without a thought as to whether or not they are any good. Such a bad practice.
Who would have thought that when I started scanning film many years ago I was starting the slow process of killing my profession. At the time I thought it was awesome just a little bit of processing and then so much control over the image. Thanks Adobe for that. Today Adobe has taken it to a whole different level with Photoshop and Lightroom. My goodness stacking images so everything is sharp as a tack. Stacking exposures for ridiculous high dynamic range. Yes I have done both – once! Yes it was fun but to me it took away from the real artistry of photography. Learning how much range the film had and processing for it was an art form. Now most digital photographers have no idea what I’m talking about when I talk about processing for the films dynamic range.
So, I have started processing film again. Why? Because almost no one else does! I now use my skill that the multitude of digital photographer wannabes does not have. I have been experimenting with a new developer that has been interesting. In the new year I plan on doing much more of it so keep coming back to this space to see the results.
A few years ago I switched over to Leica for doing my fun photography. The M system is just what I needed to kick start my creative being. You must focus the camera yourself because the lenses are manual. It took me awhile to get used to it again and it can still be a challenge at times at f2 or f1.4 but by god it’s fun. I have enjoyed the heck out of it. I still use my Canon wonder cameras for work but the camera that is with me each day is the Leica.
Well that’s it for this years rant! Try to think about how photography once was instead of digital everything. Better yet sit down and read about the history of photography. Oh ya that’s right no one reads anymore they watch Youtube. Unless you have read this far which is great, Thank you!
Best Wishes for a great Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate!