Every time I talk to a rep at a camera company, I think that they have their heads in a space that’s consumed by their smartphone and the web. This is why so many have said that photography is dying a slow death. When you go to Instagram or TikTok, they put no value on photos. But marketing reps and photographers all forget that life isn’t all about social media. We’d know this best as millennials. Truly, photography isn’t dying. It’s going somewhere else, and it should start to make itself very comfortable.
Look around you and tell me how many screens you see daily with videos playing all the time. The human mind will either completely ignore them or try to pay attention to everything. However, we cannot absorb that much information at a time. We can’t even take a ton of photos at a time. Have you ever stood in a room surrounded by Polaroids? You’d totally need to take them in one at a time.
Instead, photography isn’t dying. It’s moving into doing things that video and AI can’t necessarily do. Photographers are becoming savvier about how they create and make moments that are unique to them. Further, photography is still in a lot of other places:
- Public ads
- Social Media
Of course, this means that photographers themselves just need to be creating better work. That’s a fact, as truly there’s a ton of pretty awful photography out there.
With all this said, I believe that documenting events is still very notable, and having us sit there and look at still images of the news or noteworthy events in museums is important. But I also strongly believe that looking at how photographers artistically express themselves is equally important.
Most of all, I think that we all need to remember that not everything has to be all about social media. In fact, a lot of us are very burned out of it. Our work doesn’t need to be marketed there at all. It’s just sometimes the cheapest place for it to happen. However, better things often happen when photographers get more creative about their marketing.
So ultimately, what am I saying? I think more photographers should strive to have their work in museums, in the news, in magazines, on websites, in galleries, and in more in-person experiences. In the same way that you read a book for pleasure, photography can become a hobby that uses a higher form of thinking the same way that reading books does.
You can start to do this by doing what photographers often do best: make relationships. Why not try to do your own events? After all, we’re in a recession, and this is when creativity can kind of boom. When you have to find a way to do more with less, people tend to think outside of the box a whole lot more.
Most of all, I don’t think that photographers should give up. But they should be a lot more selective about what’s in their own portfolios. They need to find a way to improve to get the same results. And that’s sadly the way of the world. But it doesn’t need to be a sad experience for you. Once you abandon the idea that the “creative” is someone more or less designed to feed an algorithm you start to realize that those are people with no real free will.