I thought I would post part of an on-going face-to-face conversation between myself and another Get Dpi member regarding the state of photography and our own personal quest of how to move forward. Perhaps of interest to others here ... and better yet, more insight could be contributed by other members.
I thought about our conversation some more after you left.
Like many other photographers these days, including myself, there is something of a crisis of indecision going on ... quite confusing for many.
I think we covered the various problems yesterday, but not many solutions.
The decisions regarding gear and process seemed well represented ... how much gear?, film verses digital?, color verses B&W?, printing the results (silver prints verses inkjet?) ... even the effects of advancing age in our case, the proliferation and democratization of photography, and how society reacts to the photographer when the main subject is people. All well defined issues.
However, I believe we were dancing around the primary core issue. All of those discussion points we covered are actually an array of answers in search of the real question. They cannot be answered because they are answers themselves. To use them as answers first requires defining the purpose of our photography.
In essence, all the gear/process stuff keeps getting rehashed over and over because the key tool in any visual art including photography is the eye and brain. All the other stuff is just enabling the eye/brain ... to make visible what we think and see.
Jean-François Leroy says it quite well in a video recently included on the Burn Magazine site ... scroll down to it and give it a look:
Consider subscribing to Burn, as well as Photo RAW because they are much more oriented to purpose, subject matter and art, than the means to take photos that dominates most photo forums.
Photo Raw Magazine | The voice of a photographer..
These two websites offer some relief from the usual web chatter, and tend to point to the desperate need to think about what we want to say visually, and how that informs our choices. The notion that "all eyes are equal" is no more true now with a trillion images being taken by the cell-phone/shutterbug collective, than it was when photography was more technically specialized.
If the public can't distinguish our efforts, than it may be so because we aren't thinking enough, we don't have "the eye" that Leroy so well defines in the above video, or the audience is simply wrong. Since when did distinguishing creative or artistic success fall to the masses anyway? Just because we take photos doesn't make us a photographer. To become one requires the brain/eye development meshed with RAW talent as a base ... then the means to make that visible is a minor issue that is more easily answered.