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Humanity takes millions of photos every day. Why are most so forgettable? - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 21 2013 | The Globe and Mail | IAN BROWN.

In what should be a golden age of photography, our preoccupation with technical brilliance, technique, and technological advances is overwhelming our ability to collectively use our cameras to tell the simplest of stories...As a result, Ian and his fellow judges at the 2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival photography competition to tell a visual story--a photo essay--about wildlife or wilderness, declined to identify a winner--or even a runner-up--from 500 entries....none of them managed to tell the simplest of stories.

A story is a cohesive account of events in which something is at stake – a beginning, middle and end tied together with characters, scenes and details (long shots, mid-shots, closeups) that lead to a climax and resolution (or not). A story is content.

Even the entries that were remotely in the neighbourhood of telling a story – and most were hopelessly lost – were edited incomprehensibly. (Not experimentally. Incomprehensibly.) In other words, if photographic sequences evoke no perceptible story, they have no significance.

* Don't try to compensate for a lack of vision with a bag of technological tricks.
* Don't take photographs because you can. First, determine if you should (i.e. will there be story?). Think--pretend the resource you're consuming is finite.
* Don't sit down awaiting to be entertained, go out and seek a story.

We crave the instant gratification and collective approval that the Internet deals out to us and photograbs are the fastest way to get it, the visual equivalent of a hypodermic drip....The Online Photographer, the blog of Mike Johnston, a digital photographer who writes about his attempts – his successes, but more often his failures – to tell cogent and moving stories in pictures. It’s the struggle that makes visual work interesting....“Time changes the image.” allowing photos that didn't like to become favourites and vice versa....Good pictures that tell a story, he said, are always about other people. But when “everybody with a phone thinks they’re a photographer,” the result is “the autobiographical and the narcissistic.”

Ian fears for organizations such as the Chicago Sun-Times, which last month laid off all of its camera pros in favour of cheaper, crowd-sourced iPhonography. They will get what they pay for.
storytelling  photography  contests  digital_media  information_overload  curation  narcissism  Banff  failure  visual_culture  finite_resources  instant_gratification  constraints  problem_framing  golden_age 
june 2013 by jerryking
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