Monday, November 18, 2013

The Photographer's Journey | The Deeper Connection

There's an article that popped-up on my web browsing radar this morning (I gave up on TV news long ago) that tells the sad story of Canon Inc. cutting their annual profit forecast due to declining sales in the face of the rise popularity and capabilities of "smartphone" cameras. From the perspective of a professional photographer this would at first appear to be sad news with the assumption that everyone with a camera phone now can do just about everything a pro could do with a DSLR and several lenses. 

True there's some impressive imagery coming from shooters just using an iPhone. The new apps are amazing. Personally I've been having a ball with my iPhone 4S, Snapseed and Instagram . . . but . . . my iPhone won't be replacing my DSLRs with those nice lenses. And it's not a matter of greater technical capabilities of the equipment. It's more of a case of making the most of the tools that are at my disposal. 

The paintbrush and canvas don't define the artist. The pen and computer do not represent the soul of the writer. What is more important is what is achieved with the tools available in representing in visual work how and why the photographer interacts with life and light around him or her and more significantly, if that work touches and moves the viewer - even if just one person - in a way that is affirmation in the positive and heartfelt. 

It's the connection that matters and from my experience it must be a connection that is honest, respectful and reflective of a gracious nature. Can that happen with a pic from an iPhone ? Sure can. Not often, but it does happen. 

Camera manufacturers adapt to the changing market. New, easier to use cameras come out to meet market demand. "Smartphones" get smarter. People shoot away. It's all good. It's all fun and once in a while very creative and inspiring. The one consistent will always be the grace and beauty found in the balance of light and subject and that hard-to-explain reason why we are all pulled toward artistic expression through the visual interpretation of our life experiences.

Sometimes I fight the urge to get a bit perturbed at the fact that the one thing I was (and hopefully still am) good at - photography - has now become so mass produced, mass marketed and mass consumed that I worry that I will be lost in the crowd, insignificant and meaningless. But in spite of all the noise and mass image snapping out there, the sense of accomplishment still remains when I touch and move just one viewer in a positive way. 

It's not about the gear. It's not about the apps. And honestly it's not about me. It's about what I can accomplish by allowing my time, talents and tools to be used as vessels for reaffirming the blessings all around us and encouraging others to do the same. It's about gaining the greater wealth when letting flow and letting go and to connect deeper and higher, in the sacred honesty of love, light and life.

The nice equipment and accolades are temporary. The connection is forever.


Sun Singer said...

Writers and editors faced a similar situation some years ago when desktop publishing systems made it possible for non-specialists to produce newsletters, manuals, and advertising copy. To the untrained eye, the newsletter produced by a secretary with no training in layout and design looked like a newsletter.

The application wasn't the problem, for it gave more people a way to communication. The dark side was, of course, that it also gave managers a way to down-size companies as they got rid of art departments and publication departments and handed over the work to lower-salaried personnel.

It took the brass a while to see that what looked like a newsletter might work for a neighborhood association or garage sale might not really work for a major corporation's PR and training materials.


Jim Crotty said...

Excellent comparison, Malcolm. I can easily relate to what you are saying regarding desktop publishing. Back when Aldus PageMaker came on the scene, I "was that guy" who introduced it to my employer at the time, showing very quickly how much money could be saved by doing layout and design "in-house." That did not go over very well. The difference was that I was also trying to provide meaningful content at the same time. Heady stuff in a corporate setting when you are just 23 years old! But yes, here too, content is king and all else are tools to support (or not support) the connection, the story and the message.