Social Pressure…..Less Creative
The value of an artists creativity has all but disappeared in the world of fine art photography. Artists and art were once a highly sought after commodity in society. Photographers like Henri Cartier- Bresson, Ansel Adams, W. Eugene Smith and Robert Doisneau to name a few were icons in their fields. There has been a devaluation of the creative contribution of the artist to the work, their vision and use of the elements at hand to produce their images. Painters today learn to speed paint ‘trees’ or ‘flowers’ like an assembly line of clones for retailers walls. Digital technology has welcomed many aspiring artists but made everyone a photographer and flooded the market. Original prints or paintings have been replaced by new flat screen tv’s as the showpiece in most households. The rush a person gets from owning the latest ‘flagship’ product being launched or getting social media responses is short lived. The term ‘collection’ now refers to status symbols and toys not personal taste and appreciation for fine art pieces.
Ikea has become the art gallery of choice for many. No appreciation for the reproduction of true art. Just mass produced nameless posters in cheap frames to fill empty space on the walls. I am quite surprised when I visit a home that has original artwork hanging on their walls, even more when they know a little about the piece and the artist.
If most people were to look at their own walls and evaluate what is there most would find that it was purchased because it matched the paint on the walls of that room or that they now own it because you had to put something on the walls and fill as many rooms as possible within your decorating budget. No thought other than that it ‘would do’ enter peoples minds. They do not care about the artist, the story behind or location of the piece. They know nothing of the difference between original artwork and a poster or giclee. The subtle tones, brush strokes or vision that inspired the art to become a reality. The emphasis today is to know the specs on the toys you have acquired, not so much the functions, so you can impress with megabytes, frames per second, video capability or amount of gear in your bag. The more your toys are worth and that it is the latest version is the new status. Art on the other hand confuses todays generations of tech nurtured people. Why purchase an original piece of art that in some way you can connect with, can keep for generations and that might even appreciate in value, when your whole life is about disposable toys that depreciate immediately but impress others for a short moment.
In a social media world where the rush of fame can literally be a click away, many post unfinished images for the brief moment in the very small spotlight social media provides. No print is ever made and the portfolio is usually reduced to small uninspiring photos on a phone. In a world where a sense of immediacy has taken root, the need to bypass your own style, creative process of scouting locations, preplanning and having your own vision have become to much effort. The creative styles honed by past generations begin to fade away. The trend now is to mimic the photo you like from a particular location in an Instagrammer/Influencer pose and then move on to the next location and pose.
Photography is far from dead. It has evolved with the digital era in ways we never could have imagined. People have embraced the technology but many have completely missed their contribution to the creation of their image. The camera gear will do the part for which it was assembled, if you take the time to master the tools. As a hobby or career you only get out what you have put into any endeavour and that seems to elude many. There is no easy way to take your vision and utilize every element at your disposal simply by depressing a shutter button. The image is captured only after your ‘minds eye’ is satisfied that the image you are about to capture is as close to your style as possible, at that moment. It is only then that you set-up the camera to transfer your vision to the camera.