Nobody is interested in your Photographs

I recently updated my online photography portfolio and a number of my friends and family reached out to me saying how they enjoyed them. Of course this made me feel good but I began to wonder whether the pictures were good or whether my friends like me well enough to be kind in their feedback. I was reminded that we are living in the greatest time in history.

Invention is at a fever pitch. Products are being refined and invented at rate never seen before. Further, "content" if you want to call it that, is being created at a higher rate than ever before. Check out YouTube to just get a glimpse of all the content that is being created and shared on a daily basis. It is simply mind-boggling. Add to this technology revolution the fact that at no time in have we as a society had this much free time and you get a boatload of substandard content that nobody does - nor should - care about.

That said, we need art that matters. I know, "is photography art?" Well for the purposes of this post, photography is art. So, this dichotomy of photography that nobody should care about and art that matters is not easily resolved. In this video by Art of Photography -  Nobody Cares about your Photography - Ted Forbes argues that although nobody does or should care about  your photography, we need work that matters.

So, I've decided that I need work that matters, too. 

Sliver of the Moon at Sunrise. Prague 2016.

Sliver of the Moon at Sunrise. Prague 2016.

The Bang Bang Club

So, I recently watched The Bang Bang Club. It is a film made in 2010 following a group - a Club if you will - of 4 young photojournalists in South Africa in the early 1990s. Between 1990 and 1994, the ANC under Nelson Mandela were making their way to power and the country was in a state of violence. There were any number of frustrations and factions, which led to the violence but suffice it to say there was plenty of fodder for pictures for newspapers, magazines and the nightly news.

At least two of the photojournalists won a Pulitzer for their work in these very short 4 years. And if I may, they won for two of the most graphic and heartbreaking pictures that I have ever seen. What makes a good photo? Ask 100 people and you might get 100 answers. Ask me and I will admit that a good photo - at least a good news photo - is reasonably in focus, framed nicely but, most important it is a reflection of what is going on at the time. In other words, the photo tells a complete story.

Although, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and have a new found respect for Canadian filmmaking, it left me questioning my own values. Questioning societies values as well. Are we only interested in these tragic stories because they are unusual for us. We are safe in our homes thousands of miles away so, somehow a war or flood or famine are intriguing because they are not commonplace?

I mostly shoot sports or travel photos and most if not all are of my family or friends. These are typically happy pictures. But, the majority of the pictures that I look at on a daily basis are from the news. These are typically not happy pictures. Rather than documenting my daughter or son scoring a goal, these are capturing people at their absolute lowest points.

A Photo of the Day from the Wall Street Journal today was of a young boy crying and the caption read: "A Syrian boy seems overcome with grief after his brother was killed during airstrikes..." No kidding, he was grieving. Anyone would. When will I see a photo of this same kid in triumph?

I love photos and love photojournalism and street photography most of all. I am simply wondering when the world wants to see triumph over defeat? Joy over tragedy? Something to think about.

Project 365

I made a decision just before Christmas 2015 that I wanted to explore my photography. It seems that I have always had a camera. I got a little Brownie when I was small. I think it was a hand me down from my grandfather. Then I had a Kodak Pocket Instamatic with flash cubes. I moved onto a Kodak Handle instant camera - I did not have a Polaroid like the cool kids. :)

I moved through Nikons, then into digital cameras with various point n shoots from Fuji, Olympus, Canon and Nikon. I moved into digital SLR with the Nikon D100 then onto the D90 and now have the Nikon D5500 as my small body and the D500 as my main sports body. Oh, and I carry a Sony a6000 in my laptop bag wherever I go.

As I was trying to figure out how to better my photography, I decided to start a 365 project. I will endeavor to take and post one picture each day for a year. Check it out here and I hope you like it.

My First Post

I was trying to decide what to write about for my very first Blog post. Should my first post be funny? Pithy? Helpful? Informative? Artistic? Philosophic? Then I thought maybe it should just be my firsts.

My first sport was Hockey. My first job was at McDonald's. My first car was a Ford Mustang. My first love was a disaster. My first camera was a Nikon. My first airplane flight was when I was 13. My first passport stamp was from the United States of America. My first trip overseas was to London.

Onward!