Just as the painting had to survive against the expansion and development of the camera in the last century, the survival of photography as an art is now being threatened. (I develop this idea in my book « ART[GUMENT] Vol.II. ») Indeed, cameras are becoming omnipresent in our life. They are our primary medium of communication. They are becoming smaller and smaller. They are available everywhere and to everybody. They fit into your pockets and it feels incredibly natural to take a quick snap and share it with the world.
The painting was a great way to describe what our eyes saw as an imperfect reproduction of reality. (Concept developed by Aristotle with the notion of Mimesis.) Now, cameras can capture reality with a level of visual accuracy that painting could never achieve.
As a matter of fact, painters had no choice but to paint and retranscribe reality in their own way. This is how a lot of new ways of painting were born in the past: Impressionism, Cubism, Abstraction, Pop-Art, Conceptual Art…. It was time to see, to feel and to paint differently.
Same cycle, same war.
Now it’s time to see, to feel and to capture reality differently too. Everybody can pretend to be a photographer, with just a brand new reflex camera or simply with a super expensive smartphone. Today, photography is not just about getting a perfect apprehension of reality. Admittedly, everybody can instantly take a picture from anywhere… And isn’t it normal to have more than two cameras at home? Just get a smartphone and a camera and you’re done.
Thanks to the big WWW everybody can share their photographs and have their own audience and viewers. That’s the power of the Digital Age. We probably have already seen billion and billion of images from literally everywhere: ads in the streets, ads on TV, social media, television, newspaper, internet… Advertising is everywhere. People are being fed with tons of images and they can’t control it. They can’t freely choose what they are going to eat, like and wear…
But don’t you remember?
“To be free means to choose, whose slave you want to be.” Jeanne Moreau.
So, whose slave do you want to be?
The alarmingly high incidence of anxiety and depression among children and young people, the social and emotional pressure that manifests our decade… People are now the own adverts of their life.
This is how we become a symbol of success in the heaven of capitalism… Endless consumerism encourages creatives and their bosses to sell up more and more to people in a perpetual pursuit of happiness. Creatives have to cobble together a column with or without a great idea, or any idea at all, just for sales. Yes, it is a hard time for society and for creatives: there is so much pressure, lack of freedom, competition, inspiration, and abuses.
Photography has changed and you have to adapt too.
Everybody can take a picture and feed their social media pages.
But then, how are you going to be able to stand out from the crowd?
To me, it’s all about credibility, quality, and work. You have to find your deeper self and personal branding because cameras aren’t smart enough to make anyone a great photographer.
To stand out from billions of people around the world, you have to be unique, to capture your own reality and give it your own meaning… Don’t be afraid to share that through your camera. Express it! Art is the answer to all of our modern World’s afflictions.
« The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life … » – Picasso
Well, here’s an extremely valuable piece of advice to survive this World, finally! Stay true to yourself. Don’t be someone else’s copy or a stereotype. Surround yourself with family, friends and positive individuals. Stay focused and committed to your goal and on what you do best. Be your own boss, and try to stay disconnected at home. MEMENTO MORI :).
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By Laura Ma www.laurama.net