“A Disturbing Trend” – by Neal Rantoul

“A Disturbing Trend” – by Neal Rantoul

PHOTO BY NEAL RANTOUL FROM THE PORTFOLIO “WAVES”

“Look, the practice of making pictures used to be hugely craft based. You needed to study photography and the making of pictures hard to be good at it. It used to be difficult to do well. As a professor I seldom saw any student any good at it until they were a couple of years in. Now, the level is higher and proficiency comes without much work. I doubt most students two years into their degree can accurately tell you what ISO is, aperture and shutter speed settings, 18%  gray, reciprocity failure, D-Max and so on. You can build the case, of course, that they don’t need to know those things. Put the camera on “P” and fire away.

My point? As photography becomes ubiquitous, as we are all photographers and even the most simple of cameras made today provides stunning results compared to a few years ago, photography is free to explore areas never approached before. That’s all good. But please give me less words and better pictures! I find the story, the text mostly boring and condescending, telling me how to look at the photographs rather than letting the photographs do the talking.”

Digital. Film. Images.

“I don’t think using film per se makes someone stand out in a digital world,” he says. “That’s never been a motivation to me. It’s essentially a photographer’s understanding of his craft and sensibility and way of seeing that makes him stand out… And that certainly shouldn’t be bound by a format, or even a talking point in the conversation between the image and the viewer.”

— photographer Jamie Hanksworth in this fabulous column on the growing resurgence of film.

Is Snapchat a New Story Telling Medium?

“Snapchat brings the reader into the story. Each viewer becomes a part of the assignment. They are my travel companions,” Stanmeyer tells TIME. “When millions of readers pick up the magazine each month, they only see 12 to 15 photographs. But so much more takes place while creating these deeply layered stories; moments of success, failure, problem-solving, excitement, boredom, hope, terrible hotels, to camping under the stars, eating tins of meat and instant noodles.” And, through Snapchat, National Geographic’s followers saw it all.”

John Stanmeyer, Photographer National Geographic in Time Magazine

Overheard: Keith Taylor, Photographer, Atlanta

Keith Taylor, Photographer, Atlanta:

“You must learn to be content with where you are & what you have, yet still push yourself. Otherwise, you will destroy yourself – mentally – by comparing yourself to where somebody else is at. What somebody else is doing doesn’t matter so much. What matters is what you’re doing with what you have to work with at any given time.”

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PHOTO BY KEITH TAYLOR

I noticed this guy as I walked past him on Peachtree Street. He was looking through the viewfinder of his camera at something or another. Once past him I looked through my viewfinder at him and sharply said, “Hey!”

 

He looked up at me & I took this shot. Then, I walked over, introduced myself, and explained that I liked capturing random people & sharing a little about who they are as well as any words of advice they had for the viewers of their photo. This is what I got from him:

 

His name is Seth, and he is originally from Americus, GA. He moved to Atlanta one year ago to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time photographer – something he has been working on now for seven years.

 

I asked him to share some advice with the viewers of this photo and he said (in the context of pursuing photography professionally): “The key is patience. Don’t get in a hurry. It’s all about becoming a better version of yourself. You’ve got to learn to enjoy where you’re at while you’re there.”

 

He then apologized to me because he felt what he had just said was “incoherent.” I suppose it could be to some people – but it wasn’t to me at all and I told him so. As a photographer myself, I knew all to well what he was talking about…

 

Commercial photography does require patience – copious amounts of it. There are very few overnight successes in this field. It requires what seems like a never-ending effort on your part – for years – before you start seeing some of it really pay off. You’ve got to stay in the game during the times you don’t feel like playing anymore.

 

You’re forced to become a better version of yourself, because you’re constantly having to learn, adapt, & humble yourself.

 

You must learn to be content with where you are & what you have, yet still push yourself. Otherwise, you will destroy yourself – mentally – by comparing yourself to where somebody else is at. What somebody else is doing doesn’t matter so much. What matters is what you’re doing with what you have to work with at any given time.

 

So Seth – thanks for reminding me of what I need to be doing – and possibly even some other creative spirit out there that’s feeling like giving up as they read this.

Noticed on Keith’s FB page today.

Visit Keith Taylor Photography.