Pricing to the Value of the Work

Pricing to the Value of the Work

I heard a very talented photographer say she charges less than others because she is new to the business and doesn’t think she should charge as much as the older, more established photographers.

I think she is completely and totally wrong. The value of the image to the client is neither less nor more depending on her time in business.

If the image is good enough for the client to use to sell more of his custom colored, whizbang widgets, it is good enough to charge rate for. If it is not, the photographer is wrong to be charging anything at all and the client is an idiot for running an image that will not help him sell his widgets.

The viewer of the ad has no idea the age of the photographer, nor should that even enter into the discussion of the value of the image… that value is intrinsic in whether or not it works to convince, convert, entertain, mystify or indulge.

My thinking is this;

If the work is good enough to charge anything for, then it should be regarded as an item that has the value of being priced in the current rate climate.

If I show you a photograph, and you love it, do you love it less when i tell you the photographer was only 16, or that the photographer had been shooting less than 2 years?

If I show you a photograph and you hate it, do you like it better if when I tell you that the photographer is an experienced, well respected photographer, or that the same piece is hanging in a local museum.

To me it makes no difference… If I like it I like it and if I don’t… well…

In other words the work created has no relationship to the creator’s status unless it is attached by the creator themselves. There is no intrinsic ‘beginner’ value to the image, nor is there something automatically inherent in an image shot by an old timer.

When we create images for people they can only fall into two camps in my opinion. Good or bad, and should considered that way for our clients and ourselves.

To provide a less than excellent product is in my mind a bad way to build presence, create a fan base or even grow into an artist. The reason is that since the artwork doesn’t carry any intrinsic information as to why it is less than stellar, the viewer sees it as representative of the work of the artist. The print doesn’t have a disclaimer “Well, I was just starting out.”

This is not to ignore the fact that artists grow and work that was acceptable before becomes less interesting as the artist matures. That is a different situation though. The artist still held that work in high esteem when it was created.

I know that it seems like I am rather pedantic on this, but I think it is important and can be quite a challenge when one is trying to establish a price that doesn’t make one look like a dork.

(Yes, I used pedantic and dork in the same sentence.)

And remember that when one begins pricing, all other prices are based on that model… so if you start low, it can be seen by your clients and fans as a challenge or “issue” to raise your rates. If you start high, it is seen as a value when you ‘discount’ or ‘gift’ lower rates. The value of your work stays high, but you can always bequeath a lower rate for any reason you want.

A $25 shoot fee is a bargain when your normal rate is $100.
A $25 shoot fee is a steep rise when your normal rate was $10.

Same shoot, different paradigm based on where you started your pricing.

The photograph is loved, used, published, viewed, and scaled to the users wishes… no matter how much you charged or how long you have been in business. The image now lives as its own entity, with no ties to anything but its own value.

So stop tying things that have no relationship to the finished image into your pricing. If it is a good image, it is worth as much as you say it is… and hopefully you will say it is worth much more than the amount of time it took to make it and print it.

Say it is priceless… but you will make them a deal – yeah – do that.

Well, This Cliff Jumping Thing Worked Out Well

Well, This Cliff Jumping Thing Worked Out Well

On Jumping Over A Cliff…

So this guy tells me… “You should jump off that cliff, Don.”

I stare incredulously at the guy cause I am not good on cliffs. Not as bad as my bud Charles… but that is a different story. I am not crazy about heights.

“Are you crazy”, I say… “jumping off a cliff can hurt, or even kill me.”

“Nawwww”, this guy says… “I have jumped off a lot of cliffs and never got hurt. Ever.”

“Really…” I am now intrigued… still skeptical, but intrugued. “How did you manage to do that?”

“It’s really SIMPLE”, he said, “all you have to do is know the secret of cliff jumping, which is a really easy method that I can teach you.”

OK, so now I am all in.

“Teach me”, I said. And then forked over $467.93 (still don’t get that price, but another topic) and we began.

He showed me all the techniques he used and we studied his methods of leaping and preparing and ‘thinking’ about his process.

On jump day, I thought the right thoughts, prepped the correct way, ran for the cliff exactly how he showed me, and did a perfect rendition of his ‘cliff-leap’…

On the way to the hospital, he sat next to me with a concerned look on his face. I was bandaged and bent, and had a tube in my nose.

“What happened?” I was going into various stages of consciousness.

He shook his head an looked at me with a look of pure patronization.

“You chose the wrong cliff.”

You can learn all the cliff jumping techniques you want from famous cliff jumpers… or whatever. But you better know what cliff you are leaping from.

They are all different, you know.

After 10 days in ICU, and two months of therapy I realized that he was right. The tactics worked fine, but not on that cliff.

“Ahh, yes, I remember you. Your the one that chose the wrong cliff”, he said as I called him on his private line.

“Yes… I want to learn how to choose the right cliff.”

We set it up for the following week. He had a group put together for an advanced workshop ($964.86 – ???) and I found myself in the company of various folks who have been in and out of physical therapy and chiropractors. They too had chosen the wrong cliff.

We spent the next 3 days learning to judge distance, find height and figure out velocity of falling imbeciles versus the depth of sand. This was grueling work, and we finally could judge the right cliff for the incredible cliff jumping to come.

As we were hoisting brews to a job well done and saying our goodbyes, he casually tossed out this little nugget; “I hope you all don’t kill yourself from doing the wrong thing in the air between the cliff and the sand… and goodnight.”

We looked at each other incredulously… “What do you mean… in the air…?”

He stopped and looked at us with a quizzical stare and said… “Look, knowing what to do and which cliff to choose is one thing, but the true power of cliff jumping is knowing how to fly and what to do to keep yourself safe.”

$3672.94 later I had mastered the skills of cliff jumping, the art of choosing the right cliff, and the science of what to do during the jump.

I haven’t done a jump yet, though.

I am quite busy working on my next workshop on “Cliff Jumping for the Young at Heart” which is based of course on all that I learned from those wonderful workshops.

It’s gonna rock… stay tuned.

First Be A Photographer

First Be A Photographer

I follow a very nice group of people on a forum on Facebook. They are all trying to start their businesses with varying degrees of luck and success.

One of the things that is emerging is that many of them are simply not ready to be professionals and in business. And that is a shame.

It is not a shame they cannot be in business, it is a shame that they thought it was as easy as buy a camera, get some business cards on the way home from the camera store and then shoot like one of their heroes shoots.

Not having any understanding that their hero spent years, decades even, learning and honing their craft, they think that if they copy the light and methods, success will be right around the corner.

It usually isn’t.

And while the perky workshop husband and wife teams go merrily out the door selling young photographers on how ‘easy’ it is to become rich shooting families and babies and weddings, the reality is that it is anything but easy.

Yes, they may have opened their doors five years ago, but they were shooting a lot longer than that.

Marketing plays a huge role as well, but that is a discussion for another time.

My take on all of it is that first, before the business cards and the promos and the vouchers and the awesome website and the perky videos… one must first BE a photographer.

Being a photographer means shooting technically and artistically without encumbrance. It means knowing the gear, how it works, how light works and how to use it to make the images you see in your head… or on someone else’s Pinterest.

Being a photographer means not struggling with simple light, and being able to concentrate on the shot at hand. Being a photographer means knowing what the shot is going ‘to turn out like’ before committing it to the film or sensor.

It takes time. And a lot of shooting and failing and screwing up. It takes understanding the win, and working through the challenges.

Football players generally play more than 8 years before they are considered by the pros. Tennis players play for years and years before getting to the pro circuit. Cello players and rock drummers play and woodshed and practice for decades to get to the point of becoming a paid musician.

Why would anyone expect photography to be any different.

I think it is important to shoot a lot of photographs, and love making photographs so much that it is all you want to do. Live photography and breathe photography and dance photography.

When you are shooting photographs that matter, photographs that everyone thinks is awesome, photographs that YOU think are awesome, you may turn around and realize that you are already a professional photographer.

That’s when the fun begins… really.

Thanks and see you next time.

Clarion Call 2013: “Open to Creativity’

Clarion Call 2013: “Open to Creativity’

This will be a truly fascinating day. Plan now to make it a must listen. Selina is a great friend, and a consummate teacher/mentor. Her work researching creativity and its many manifestations will give you insights into the process you may never have touched. I am recommending this to every photographer I know!

NOTE: IF YOU SIGN UP HERE, WITH MY LINK, and decide to purchase the Clarion Call Four “Open to Creativity” program, you will also receive a code to both of my UDEMY Courses to register for FREE. That is a $100 value. In order to qualify for that, you MUST sign up for Selina’s program from the links on this page. I will be notified from Selina when you purchase, and a Free Code will be emailed to you ASAP.

And whether you purchase or not, you absolutely MUST listen in on this extraordinary seminar.


Clarion Call 2013: Open To Creativity – Five of the World’s Greatest Experts Deliver the Steps, Practices and Knowledge to Truly Open To Creativity

Five  of the world’s greatest experts have joined teacher/guide Selina Maitreya, for a “first ever” event to deliver the steps, practices and knowledge that all creative souls must take in order to truly OPEN TO CREATIVITY.

In today’s world, those seeking to develop a Creative life, build a creative profession or simply release the artist within have few resources to support them. The key to living an artistic life is to learn how to connect to the creative muse, the higher self and to stay in the zone 24/7.  Doing so enables those seeking to build a creative life with a direct connect to true creative power, deeper relationships, more financial prosperity, excellent health and peace.

Clarion Call 2013; OPEN TO CREATIVITY is a worldwide online event that brings 5 of the world leaders together to share information and inspiration for the purpose of transformation. CC2013 will take place March 28, 2013 from 12 pm EST -7pm EST. This is a free, live event hosted by Ms. Maitreya.

Joining Ms. Maitreya will be leading experts Jean Houston, Jill Badonsky, David Meggyesy, Barbara Biziou and Jeffrey Van Dyk.

Each featured expert will share their knowledge, insights and practices that will help all Creatives to:

  • Bring the artist within out into the world 24/7
  • Re-Open their sensory systems for maximum creative potential
  • Access higher states of creativity
  • Break through creative blocks
  • Move through procrastination
  • Build a life that supports the artist within
  • Develop abundant lives through their connection to creativity

During 6 hours of nonstop content, participants will learn and experience:

  • How to honor your responsibility and bring your gifts to the world.
  • How to release the artist within and bring your creativity front and center
  • A fun and enjoyable meditation that re-opens the sensory systems for maximum creative potential
  • Rituals to start the creative process
  • The importance of you the artist as athlete
  • The importance of redefining the concept of competition
  • How competition helps you open to creativity
  • How to leave creative blocks behind
  • Tricks and Triggers for starting the Creative Process
  • Secrets to move you through the “old paradigm” of starving artists
  • Strategies to build prosperity

“Building a creative life is a possibility for everyone on our planet.  Whether you are an artist, a person who loves creativity or a being who is choosing to live creatively, working to connect your inner and outer lives has several benefits.  Your life becomes deeper and richer, your relationships become more long lasting and beneficial and abundance in your life is everywhere, financial, health and well being, “shares Maitreya.

“As a guide to Creative Souls I am committed to helping as many people as possible discover their path to building a life that is deep rich, meaningful and prosperous. I am thrilled to welcome legendary teacher Jean Houston, author /lecturer Jill Badonsky, author/lecturer David Meggyesy, world ritualist/author Barbara Biziou and teacher Jeffrey Van Dyk to Clarion Call 2013.

I encourage you to join me and my guests for a FREE 1 day telesummit and experience their knowledge and wisdom as you learn what you need to do to OPEN TO CREATIVITY.”

Seating is limited for this event. Registration details are here.

About Selina Maitreya

Sometimes the Greatest is Releasing it in others…

Selina teaches. She illuminates a focus and a purpose for creative individuals of every version and variety. To be “creative” is to make use of one’s divine gift. “Divine”, in a sense of something that flows through you from a place beyond you. Selina helps you release the grip of doubt and move forward from stagnation (a nation you do not want to live in). Selina teaches transformation.

Selina walks the spiritual path with her feet firmly planted on the ground. Selina has a long and respected history of working with and advancing the careers of creative types, especially in the visual realm.
She is now taking that value and vision into all manner of creative enterprise. Whether it’s writing, painting, photography, knitting, pottery, dance, music or a thousand other less-than-obvious creative endeavors, Selina can help you think, work and live a creative life.

At the core of all creativity is a desire and passion to connect. Selina re-energizes and renews that connection.

For Selina Maitreya, creating symbiosis in relationships and empowering the artfulness of the soul are serious personal and professional pursuits.

A life of consulting, partnering and immersing herself in matters of vision and creativity has fully informed her belief system, which Selina offers wholeheartedly to her students. Create a life of human being.

Chronicling Selina Maitreya
Selina has spent over 30 years as a consultant to creative professionals, an author, a internationally acclaimed lecturer (over 100 dates and counting) and developer of several professional workshops. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Boston Graphic Artists’ Guild and is a former correspondent for Photo District News. She has been profiled by The British Journal of Photography, Light Years (Ooty, India), ADWEEK, The Boston Globe Magazine, and PDN. In addition, Selina’s opinions and knowledge on the business of selling creative services have been included in articles in a variety of publications.

The creator of the mega online telesummit CLARION CALL, Selina has brought together thousands of creatives with international teachers resulting in massive growth for all. Unleashing, redirecting and invigorating creative energy is what Selina does for “creatives” of any kind, in any discipline.

Thirty Three Tired and Dated Photographic Expressions: Un-Edited

Thirty Three Tired and Dated Photographic Expressions: Un-Edited

Riffing on a post by Ash Ambirge today, I asked the intrepid members of my Lighting Essentials Flickr group to come up with a list of photographic cliche’s and terms that they were also tired of.

I did not edit them, nor did I censor any of them… 33 different pet peeves by 33 photographers.

Now, you may believe some of them should be on the list, and others may piss you off.

Good…. that means it is a great list.

So without further comment:

1. Blowing out the Ambient
2. Creamy/Dreamy/Delicious Bokeh
3. Use the Histogram to _________
4. Gangnam Strobist style
5. Beating the sun
6. Stofen/Fong make soft light.
7. Capture
8. It’s only a phone camera
9. its a little hot
10. iPhoneography
11. “Capturing life’s precious moments”
12. it’s a little soft
13. “put it on the thirds”
14. ‘Clicking’ a picture
15. The “Dave Hill Look”
16. What triggers do I need to buy?
17. Photoshopped
18. I coulda done that better
19. Capture an image
20. Its fine I’ll fix it in post
21. Spray and pray
22. RAW or JPEG?
23. Lost detail
24. tog/photog
25. Signature (Don’t tell Missy)
26. Just tie some knots in a piece of string.
27. Chimping
28. Momtographer
29. Never use hard light
30. That’s an expensive camera, it must take great pictures
31. pixel peeping
32. Light Depth of Field
33. If you use P you suck.
(Bonus 4 – don’t never say we don’t give you free stuff…)
34. HDR
35. TTL sucks
36. “Editorial ”
37. Document the Experience

If you want to add your single most annoying phrase or term for photographers, add it in the comments. NOTE: arguing with the list is pointless: I didn’t write it, and I do not remember who said what. So if your Ox got gored, consider it for what it is. It’s just for fun.

Direct all hate mail to “”

(And you really SHOULD read Ash’s post… it will get you thinking about the words you use.)

Photography, I Hardly Knew You…

Photography, I Hardly Knew You…

“…you’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you, don’t you, don’t you…”

Well, yeah.

You see the problem with that grand lyric was that obviously the song WAS about ‘him’. That mysterious beguiling playboy that Carly Simon sang about. I must admit I would always say, ‘well, yeah its about him… duhhhh’ when I heard it. Insipid pop music was the bane of my existence back then.

Simon may play the coy approach, but in the end we all knew it was her that was hurt, and trying to be passive aggressive in the take down of the cad who dumped her. Yeah, I read Oprah… I got that psychobabble shit down, don’t I?

(NOTE: This is a long post… and it rambles on a bit. Just warning you. If reading things over 200 words is a challenge, this is probably not the post for you. No problem, all’s good. Just a heads up.)

Why was she surprised by the protagonist in her little melodramatic ditty? He was as he always was… she couldn’t change him. Why bother trying.

I guess I feel a bit that way toward photography. A couple of instances these last few weeks have set me thinking about what I am doing, how I got here, and the most challenging question… where will I go from here.

No, not giving up photography or the teaching of it. I still love making photographs.

Although somethings have changed. And it is causing me to think and re-think what I call photography.

Rodney Smith, a photographer I so much admire, had a post at his blog that should have gotten a ton more interest than it did. Here is a quote:

On occasion if the subject being photographed is special, wonderful things can happen, but for the most part the use of artificial light and the seamless help the photographer hide behind a veneer of professionalism. But in this process nothing has been risked, nothing has been revealed and your mask is in tact, exposed only to those who care to look deeper.


And lastly, now comes Photoshop, which is changing photography from an interchange with life into a studio experience in one form or another. If you don’t like the background, change it. If you don’t like the expression, change it. Change everything. Change the colors, the light, the clothes, etc., until photography is on its merry mechanical way of being a form of illustration.


So photographers have slowly lost control under the guise of getting more. They have slowly given up the great gift of a meaningful and spiritual interchange with this glorious world, for consistency, ease, control, and most importantly a fear of failure.


All those appurtenances you have added to your toolbox so you would not fail have in fact failed you in the end. What has been lost is a way to succeed naturally. I am fearful some photographers have lost their way.


If you risk a great deal and you expose your hidden self by your experiences and your reaction to the world you encounter, you will be telling all those who care to look and listen the small truths that are hidden inside you.

You should indeed read the whole thing. It will make you think.

And I could care less if you agree with him – or me- or not. It is an exercise in thinking beyond the edges.

There was a time, when I entered photography, that the challenge of making an image was foremost a matter of skill and bravery and choices and difficulties to be met at every turn. The amount of time spent working with chemistry to perfect that incredible negative was profound. It wasn’t automatic, it wasn’t foolproof. It was fucking hard work.

I have on my shelves countless books in photographic technique: The Ansel Adams “Camera/Negative/Print” series, books on darkroom and film developing, books on alchemy and the magic of selenium toner when combined with hot Dektol… I could go on.

But what would be the point.

That entire shelf of books is worth entirely nothing now.

The information contained within is no longer viable, no longer of interest to anyone but a few.

Something indeed was lost.

And other things were found… you see with any closing of one door, another door gets bashed open by a wrecking ball and throws shards of glass all over the walls and floors, endangering all who linger in the mourning of the closed door.

“Photography” is about 140 years old. In the grand scheme of things it is a pretty young art form. There are no known photographs of Bach, or Michaelangelo, or Genghis Khan. The camera didn’t exist. The likenesses were created with pen and brush.

By highly skilled pen and brush image creating folks.

When the camera came about, you should have heard them scream. In fact, you can still hear luddite statists discussing whether photography is art or not. It is, so STFU.

Now we have entered the digital photography dimension or era or time… whatever. I have a prediction… it won’t last another 140 years. You can bet your Mayan calendar on that.

Change is growing exponentially… and what we are seeing now is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Photography, as I learned it, is practically no more.

Digital changed everything.

Hey, I’m not whining, I am pointing out that when the bar of entry changes, the output changes with it.

If every young girl in the world had her own thoroughbred horse, what would the world look like? Would ‘horse racing’ or ‘dressage’ still exist? If everything was as good as everything else, what would be the point?

In my own work I have come to quite a different place than I was even a few years ago. I now question the ‘legitimacy’ of every image I shoot. Does it need to be made? What will the making of that image mean to me? If I do not take the image what will be lost?

In the commercial part of my business the answers are self evident. I need to make this shot and do a great job at it because that is what I am hired to do, and what makes me a professional. Obviously there is a need for the photograph, and thank heaven they called me to fill that need.

But I am referring here to the personal work. The stuff that I seek out. The ‘real’ images that have always helped me see my place in the world.

I have been asked why I photograph and the answer has always been ‘because I must’. Not just because I want to. There has always been a deep need to fulfill the request from my mind for a singular image, a point in time that will never be again captured and saved. I still love it so.

However, the excitement that I felt when meeting challenges of ISO, light, negative development, printing and presenting my work is now different. Oh, it isn’t gone… but it is different.

Digital has removed so many choices that once were so important – wiped them clear off the table. I mean, they are simply gone.

When I would think of a photograph, I would first consider the format. This shot felt right for an 8×10, that one was gonna be on 35, and the one tomorrow was 6×7, no doubt in my mind about that. I had a wide variety of cameras and formats that all felt different in my hands. I didn’t photograph with my 4×5 as I did with my 35. Even the way the camera was interfaced with me was such a complete and radical difference.

Then the task of narrowing down the film choices… and processing choices… and print choices.

Each choice impacting all the other choices… ahhh… heady times.

Now photography is for the most part shot on the 35MM type of camera. No waist viewfinders, no gridded screens and built in tilt-shift. No bigass 8×10 chromes that jump off the light table and make you catch your breath for a split second.

I miss that.

But I do not despair in the here and now either.

Digital has made the love of the still image something everyone can be involved in. I think that is grand.

But it is different.

The “Photograph” capitol P, is now the rarity. Photographs have become ubiquitous and so widely disseminated that the taking of an image is in many cases an afterthought.

Jorge Colberg recently wrote on Conscientious:

Photographing an event one is looking at might just be a natural consequence of that compulsive looking. Of course, one is likely to share the images with friends or whoever else will look at them (as I did). Photographing results from a desire to communicate, and modern technology has made it possible for people to achieve that very effect usually instantaneously (this is one of the reasons why articles such as Jones’ are so misguided).


But I believe there is more. Often enough, the photographs we produce are not very good photographs. Mind you, I’m not talking about the idea of beauty here. I’m talking about simple image quality. Cell phone and digital point-and-shoot cameras are pretty good, but most photographs by bystanders are pretty bad. They might be blurry, or the camera might have trouble getting the exposure right, or the fact that digital cameras almost always have very wide-angle lenses results in the event being quite small in the photograph. Interestingly enough, reduced image quality usually means increased believability – if it looks too good, it might be fake (as if it were impossible to fake blurry images).


So there’s that then: We photograph almost as compulsively as we look when something is happening (even if it’s just the breakfast appearing under our noses), and since the photographs don’t look too perfect, that only means they’re more real. And we share, because that’s what photographs are made for (only very, very few photographs are made for the walls of galleries or rich collectors, or to give pleasure to art critics).

Pretty compelling reading, and I do hope you read the whole article. It will make you think. And thinking is our friend.

I look at the ways photography is being discussed on forums and around photographers of all levels and am struck by how little the images are involved in the dialog. There is a fascination with the tools and the presentation and the ‘cool’ factor that has little to nothing to do with why that image exists, why it was made, and to what end it will be left.

In the world of Instagram, those are not things we discuss.

My daughter (15) has a point and shoot camera with ‘all of her pictures on it’. I mentioned that I would take her card out and transfer the photographs to her computer so she could make more photographs. “You can print up the ones you like,” I told her.

She heard: “Imvo platigroassy imo uitvllvy…”

“Why would I make a print,” she asked?

“And why would I want the pictures on my computer? I want them on the camera so I can show them to my friends. And most of them are on Facebook already…”

Well, OK then.

I replaced the 4GB card with a 16GB card, moved her pictures over to the new card and got a great big hug… “thanks daddy”.

Photography has become an event, a sport, a past time much as the way of golf… wait, nothing is as boring as golf. (Yeah, now I will get hate mail from golfers who think this is about them…)

There are some photographers who think that Instagram is the devil, Flickr the ruination of all that is artistic and G+ as a place where photographers shout “look what I did, look what I did.”

Well, they may have a point about G+, but seriously… nothing could be further from the truth.

Photography, capital P Photography, is still here. It exists in digital, and it exists in those still using analog.

It has little to nothing to do with Instagram or 500PX or Yahoo or Facebook or Twitter or whatever. That is something new… a shared visual experience, a connecting device with little regard for exposure or ‘the rule of thirds bullshit’ or any of the things we bigP shooters are thinking about.

But maybe we should think about it a bit more.

Maybe we should think about where this is all going, cause I think in another ten years we may not recognize much of what we think Photography should be. (Yeah, there’s that ‘should’ word again… scary.)

How about this… maybe we damn well better start thinking about it. Digital changed a lot of things about our art, our business, our personal relationship to the image and more.

Much, much more.

We could go running around worrying and fretting and getting all angst ridden like this insufferable whimpering elitist

When did my photophobia begin? When I realised that I was buying into the same delusion of grandeur as everyone else. I have a decent camera and it can take lovely pictures. It has a close-up focus that can capture perfectly crisp images of a flower petal or a bee up close. So I think the moment it all went wrong was on a visit to Kew Gardens. There I was, having fun snapping water lilies, when I realised that about a hundred people were doing the same thing. Grannies, kids, babies, all with cameras and a sense of being artists. I am waiting for dogs and cats to get their own photo-sharing site for their genuinely beautiful snaps.


How can you fool yourself about this? For every wacky picture you take and upload, a million just as wacky are being taken. Dogs, flowers, fairy lights … each one as gorgeous as the next. On Instagram every passing moment has a pseudo-Baudelarian beauty. Random shots of ordinary things are touched up for instant allure. It is so easy with these technologies to believe you are Baudelaire’s “painter of modern life”, the ironic flâneur capturing the passing life of the modern world, or a latter-day Atget, but really you are the servant of a computerised eye. Instagram’s apparent claim of ownership of every image on its site would actually be a logical next step, for the reality is that no individuality exists in the creation of digital images.

Well, I hope not. There is so much bullshit in those two paragraphs that I could devote an entire week taking this apart. Dude… if you can’t find anything to make a photograph of, just STFU and go write poetry.

Instagram is not the enemy… complacency and ignorance are.

Photography is alive and well, and the fact that so many people love it is cause for celebration. Understanding that the world of our art is changing takes personal education and engagement.

It means we will have to find our way through uncharted territory… a place where cameras mounted on hats, full range cameras with no need to focus until after the image is taken, 3-dimensional captures to 3-dimensional prints, images that ‘speak’, blurred images that are recovered to perfect sharpness, and so much more.

So many new and exciting things coming soon… I wish I was 30 again to witness all these amazing things.

And adopting the new doesn’t mean tossing the old. I am shooting some tintype now on my beloved Deardorff 8×10.

And I look forward to shooting on my new Nikon V1 to be delivered today.

So photography, an art form of less than a century and a half is being changed and altered and manipulated and morphed right in front of our very eyes.

Are you on board? And if you are, where do you think we will be in a couple of years?

I cannot wait to find out.