Thursday, May 14, 2009

Current Standards in Photography

I produce photographs for both art and commerce. The end point for each of these types of photographs is quite different. For art it is the print. For commerce it is the edited image file.

I still consider museums and galleries as significant. They now share their importance to display cutting edge contemporary art and historically significant art with exclusively online sites like Flickr, but I don't consider them irrelevant. It is a very different experience seeing a Jeff Wall or a Jerry Uelsmann photograph in a museum or gallery than seeing it online. The difference is somewhat analogous to hearing music on an iPod vs. hearing the same music in concert. A file must meet extraordinary technical standards to yield a good print. This standard is many times higher than what is needed to post an image on a website or send it as email.

Digital cameras have had a huge effect on all of photography. One of the places where this change is most evident is in stock photography. Stock photography is creating images intended for commerce rather than as art and then leasing them for usage in a wide variety of products from greeting cards to advertising. Distribution is generally done thru companies that may represent the work of hundreds or even thousands of photographers. Thanks to digital cameras work can now move quickly from the photographer to the stock agency to the stock buyer with little to no verbal communication between the 3 parties. Again the file must meet extraordinary technical standards. The print is irrelevant in this fast moving distribution system.

Editing work has never been more important. Everyone knows what a photograph is. Almost everyone has made photographs. This makes it much harder to make original photographs that show a sense of vision.

All text unless otherwise noted is ©2009 Paul Light. All rights are reserved.


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