Why the Tsunami of Digital Photos is Never Enough
Why the Tsunami of Digital Photos is Never Enough
It's what we are drawn to, but how do we process it all?
Everything, and every experience, is captured on cameras, today.
Everyone seems to be a photographer.
Imagery floods our minds from everywhere. Daily, from the moment we awake, we are confronted with images on our devices, pictures on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest - on billboards, signs, tv, and products trying to attract us. And according to studies, our attention is more predictable and held longer - when images are used. Images flood the internet in billions by the second, and never stops. It's a common challenge just to manage our personal photos that we take + those we receive, and keep them stored and organized.
Are we overwhelmed? Over-stimulated? Or inspired?
"Beauty lies the eyes of the beholder" -Plato
What does this mean to the profession of photography?
And, who are the professional photographers today? The lines seem blurred, and others are being drawn in the sand (by the pros) to distinguish the themselves from the amateurs.
Yet, images go viral, too. And out of nowhere, an amateur photographer is celebrated for the unique "capture". Overnight, someone can become "pro". And we always consume more imagery. It brings us experiences, and captures places that we long to enjoy - or hope never to encounter.
The art and design of imagery is not a prevalent terminology - but the meaning and implications are so relevant in our digital image society.
To understand my perspective on this subject, consider that...
Not all painters, musicians, singers, architects or engineers are artists.
Not all builders, programmers, marketers, speakers or writers are designers.
Not all professional artists, musicians, sculptors, entertainers, or designers have professional training.
Taking your craft to the point where you interject your creative code is where you enter the world of design and artistry.
Most everything that is visually attractive to us, has creative talent that brings design to it.
That’s a different one.
The craft of Image Design — a designer of inspiring creative imagery.
Consider… It’s this design element that makes each and every finished project one that is unique to the designer.
Photographers are a dime-a-dozen in this world where everyone becomes a photographer with the tap of their phone - the “profession” is feeling the pressure to categorize itself to a higher level.
Yet, even in music, where millions can now sing or play an instrument, being a musician doesn’t classify you as an artist. An artist is someone who creates something of their own design with the music. And yes, they can be a professional at it, without anyone knowing their name, nor ever having been “certified” in the process.
It’s part of the creative code.
The distinct formula that any designer uses to fashion their own artistic version.
And regardless of how many interior, home, graphics, furniture designers there are on our planet - each one brings their own flare, their own distinct style to the final result. As with artists who paint on canvas, wood, metal or walls - each given the same start - will create a unique outcome when finished. There really is no right or wrong. The beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.
We seek those who we connect with on this artistic and design level - in all 5 sensory components.
This is the reasoning behind why anyone can be a photographer - but not everyone is an image designer or artist.
As an image designer...
I can begin with the same raw image content that the camera captured from my perspective. And 50 other photographers standing around me will capture a similar perspective. The final version of that image results from the unique creative elements that are designed into the final outcome. The beauty or attraction created by the original “designer” of the resulting image will appeal to the people (the beholders) that these design elements “connect” with. Unique lighting variation, the color fluctuation, and the focal points are all integral factors in the various outcomes. It’s chemistry, but there isn’t only one formula, and it’s not one-size-fits-all.
That is where image design and artistry interact - and produce various types of art from a similar snapshot.
Formal education does not make someone an artist. We know this from countless examples of people who have the best education in a certain skill, but don’t make the “connection” that a street-person can with zero education in the same craft.
Doing their craft, and becoming proficient at connecting with others who appreciate their style, is what makes an artist.
We can learn good design elements, just as we can learn to paint - but the work of creative design comes from "doing", again and again, while instilling our artistic or design elements.
This is where the profession of photography is, today - whether we call it design, or not. The creative process before, during and after the shot is what determines the unique outcome of the final image.
This is design - when it’s visually distinctive.
And while I understand the clamor about Instagram and photo apps making everyone a photographer - that does not equate to good design and artistry. Yet, it can bring out the creative in some, that they didn’t even realize they had. And that’s a good thing. It’s no different that the musicians who become artists through YouTube by honing their craft, and attracting an audience that appreciates their particular style.
We simply don’t recognize it in photo imagery - nor affirm the creative design - with the same nomenclature that we do with other visual design craftsmanship. That should change.
Thus, I move forward by classifying what I do as image design. My image design will have my own unique creative flair and style, and won’t appeal to all. Yet, it will appeal to those who feel that same connection to the final image of art - and it is attractive to their eyes… the eyes of the beholder.
So, dear fellow beholders, image designers and aspiring creators — the digital journey of photography is evolving, with much to appreciate about the creative process and the craft involved.
What do you think about the influx of digital photography in our online world? Are you aspiring to learn more, and do more, with your particular skill or craft - and become an artist or designer?
Until next time... keep those cards and letters coming. Digitally speaking, of course.