Friday, January 02, 2009

Expert in nothing, specialist in less...

I recently sent an email to a friend suggesting she submit some of her images to an upcoming project. She replied with something to the effect of she doesn't see herself [qualified] as a photographer.

I found this refreshingly humble and interesting given that our current user-generated content culture encourages the belief that we are all x, y or z.

I admittedly suffer from various delusions when using creative outlets - including writing - other than photography but I'm nonetheless aware that I'm not really a proper writer or theorist... I simply enjoy it without expectations of recognition or compensation. I don't see myself challenging institutions or participating in a weakening of other outlets ... they do a good enough job of that themselves!

The other reason this recurring theme has popped up was a segment from Dreams with Sharp Teeth with Harlan Ellison and the resultant discussion on Flickr. In particular, Pros were - quite rightfully - illustrating how Amateurs/Prosumers were damaging the industry by working for free or at heavily reduced rates.

The argument was that it builds a climate of client expectation... ie. the infamous but it will be good exposure for your work or an expectation that all should work at rate x irrelevant of overheads, experience and other factors.

Design has also suffered a similar rate in that tools are now accessible that previously were - admittedly - over-priced. There is a danger that people equate tool with ability. ie. someone has a Nikon D3, therefore they must be a professional photographer.

My tip for 2009 - as a sidenote - is that the new thing will be micro-products/services. This has developed over the last few years - ie. Apple's App Store with small, cheap applications and iStock with photography - and I imagine that the same concept will be applied more broadly... the heritage model would be the soundbite as opposed to a thorough article.

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