Thoughts On The Changing

World Of Photography

by William Lulow

Recently, I began a discussion on LINKED IN about photographers. It was aimed at those who are new to the field and may be the subjects of a form of exploitation by people who are looking to get something for nothing. They realize that beginning photographers need to expand their experience and to “build their portfolios.” They try to get these newbies to work for less or no money under the guise of “helping” them with this “building. “

One of the comments (by Bill Burkholder) suggested that one reason for this is that the photograph itself has been devalued, in general, by the simple overabundance of images these days, driven by the digital revolution. To paraphrase Bill, people no longer are interested in the print or album, they are more interested in multiple images or even a video stream that can be shared via the social media. The unspoken part of this is that the quality of these images doesn’t have to be the best. As long as images show something interesting or arresting, that’s all that’s required. In the Boston bombing case, it didn’t matter that the images of the suspects were blurred as long as positive identifications could be made.

While I agree with Mr. Burkholder about the direction of the “low end” images and picture takers, I still think that budding young photographers need to be educated about what makes great pictures and what it is exactly, that makes them stand out from the thousands that are taken every day.

We absolutely do need to raise the bar for “professional photographers.”  The quality of work produced by the “high end” shooters needs to be obviously better. The way this is accomplished is through educating everyone as to what makes those images stand out and to hold everyone to a higher standard if their pictures are to be sold. Younger photographers need to study the works of the great masters. They need to be made aware of what makes a great image. Learning how to  handle a high-end DSLR is only the beginning. This is what I have been trying to teach for the last twenty years.