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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Before Social Media, Photography Was a Social Medium

 The state of photography as an art just keeps moving into further oblivion. The talk going on is not good and I'm wondering if and when it will reverse course. If you're into instagram selfies, lunch photos, and the now majority Keeping Up With The Joneses, you'll be perfectly content. If you're into whatever cluster fuck of the day social or political issue you'll be fine as well. It's why so many galleries and museums are hosting exhibitions on these topics of the day. They know the iZombie drones will stumble through their doors. I watched a couple of good photographers throw in the towel over the years such as Markus Hartel who moved out of New York City, Clay Benskin also from New York but for reasons unknown, and most recently Zoe Strauss from Philadelphia who has won just about every major grant and fellow, had a major museum retrospective, and had a shot joining Magnum. She is going to sell all her camera gear because she's flat broke. If she can't afford to live as an artist what hope do the rest of us have !?
 I've spent a great deal of time speaking to those in the field such as gallery owners, curators, collectors, critics, and they're not sure of what's happening either. I've read hundreds of articles, books, blogs and forums searching for an answer beyond the obvious that Instagram and smartphones have devalued the photographic image. Remember when people though that digital cameras will be the death of it ? Well who knew something worse was around the corner.
  Speaking of forums, I freaking hate them but someone talked into joining one of the largest in photography to pep it up. I was very reluctant because I knew what to expect which was a bunch of gearheads who constantly buy the latest gear but rarely take photos and God forbid ever post them. The place always erupts into the most insipid arguments when these fauxtographers should be out there taking photos or at least learning how to. So after I grew tired of the camera forum I moved to its Street Photography/Documentary Photography forum. There are photos posted by a handful of people but nothing that comes close to good mostly because they don't have the discipline to learn. Communication is rare because they're either afraid or because today's internet has made everyone too lazy except for a click on a like or little red heart. When they do respond most of it is in the form of an argument which is either uneducated in the field of photography or a personal opinion being passed on as fact. When you have no experience why talk when you can listen ? Even when you try to help they take it as an attack on them. I've brought up the question about street photographers collecting others work and just about all said they don't and they won't. Claims of clutter, living minimal, not wanting to leave physical things behind for love ones, and my personal favorite not wanting strangers hanging on their walls even though they themselves go out and take photos of strangers. It's a typical Millennial attitude that even two of the late 40's members agree to. Fucking Millennial wannabes are the worst. Some of the more Google savy people will try to use terms such as "historical baggage" as a narcissist way of saying that time didn't exist before them. What a sad existence they've constructed for themselves and at the same time destroying photography.


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