Wednesday, 08 April 2009 11:02

When Photography Lost its Art

I find it difficult to point out when this happened, however the one thing getting accused most often is digital technology. I say this with great sadness, being a great supporter of technological advancement (translated “gadget freak”). The problem is not the digital technology itself, but the abuse it gets by those who, probably out of too much excitement for something new combined with sheer ignorance in the use of new technology, abuse it and mangle it to the point where it becomes something horrible. Not only that, but the ease of use which technology brings, is used in such a way that the thought process starts fading, until we’re all firing away aimlessly like an army of machine guns.

I must admit that for some time I did fall into the machine-gun trap, but eventually I realised that the more I fired away, the less the quality of the output. It is not easy to hold back your finger from the trigger and force a thought process before taking a photograph. It is even tougher when you are capturing things which exist only for a split second.

Alas, the bottom line is that all this is just an excuse – a comfortable scapegoat for those who do not want to admit that, in the end, the only ones to blame for the state in which photography is today, are the photographers themselves. Photography lost its art simply because ph0tographers stopped being artists. Let us be honest – photography has transformed itself into a craft – and sometimes, to my utter disgust, not even that. The result is that those few remaining artists out there who use photography as their medium get the cold shoulder.

It is a long, tough road ahead. There is still a great deal of talent which can emerge and hit the art scene like a ton of bricks, but the change must start from within. There needs to be a deep-rooted cultural change, and it must start from those photographers who have been practicing for years, and who are well established. Unfortunately, I am afraid that some of these have today become “unrecoverable”, however, some have the capability within to rise to the challenge.

Whether they are willing to make the effort, is a totally different story.