This year I celebrate 25 years since the sale of the first image in 1990 'Stacked Trams', 2015 also marks 27 years since the capturing of my first image still on sale 'Dive' and 30 years since I picked up my first SLR, in 1985, as a fourteen year old. It has been a magnificent personal adventure to date. Photography too has been on a great adventure, a renaissance with the explosion of the digital workflow, and without question, 2015 sees digital as the king of the photography world.
I first started using digital professionally in 2004 with release of the Nikon D70, I transitioned from the camera pictured above, the Nikon F (film) 5 to this fantastic 6 megapixel camera. It was early days, and really the cameras lacked a lot up against their film counterparts, but there were pros to the cons.
Cost for the client, no film, turn around times, no labs to come and go to and scanning to digitise, and you could show the customer on the fly what was being captured. Digital was just ‘too easy’, compared to film and in this impatient, ever fiscally rationalised world, digital was taking over.
Every few years the professional level cameras would be upgraded, and with those upgrades came advancements. Faster, quieter, higher ISO, bigger dynamic range, more pixels, full frame and so on. The march for camera supremacy amongst the big names, Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Leica etc, unflaggingly went on. After over 10 years of innovation there are digital cameras for all budgets, and all needs, for everybody.
This is a good thing … yes. For self expression, fun, memories – amazing.
This is a bad thing … yes. For professionals, an explosion of photographers and images in the market place. Stock photography is an example where the economics of photography are so devalued its hard to grasp where that particular part of the industry will end.
30 years of photography, the first 20 years with film, chemicals, darkroom, traditional crafted method, things needed to be pretty right in order for photography to work.
The last 10 years with digital photography, and the rise, rise, rise of the internet, the image, created digitally – is everywhere, and to create, populate and disseminate is just a few button clicks away, from anywhere there is mobile coverage. Unimaginable 15 years ago. It is truly an alien landscape to a photographer from the 1990’s and before.
So where are we? Who are we? What do photographers do to maintain the professionalism and standards of our industry?
Stick to being you.
Don’t be anybody else.
Have your style.
Show your voice.
Only a small part of being a commercial photographer is the photography.
It is people.
Love what you do, without question.
Deliver unequivocally outstanding results.
25 years is a long time to work at one thing.
I love what I do so much, and I love the craft, the journey to finding the outcome.
The outcome of capturing moments, which tell stories, capturing that je ne sais quoi, capturing the defining feeling, the feelings, moments, things that make us human.
The things which connect us.
We want to be connected.
I look very much forward to the next 25 years of my craft. And continuing to search for humanity in all the shapes and colours of the foot print we leave on our precious home. It will be an honor to keep looking for our humanity and to push my limits. Thank you.