I’m beginning to think I should go back to painting. Painting is hard, or certainly harder than shooting a great photo these days. The quality of images from phones, much less big rigs is great – just spend some time on The Big Picture at bostonglobe.com for example – all good stuff and a ton of it. All you need is a good eye – the machine does the rest. Exposure, flash, focus, a little digital enhancement and there you go – ok, an exaggeration but not too far from the mark. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact the photo-ization of the unwashed masses is one of the world’s most interesting phenomenon. If one is trying to sell images though, it looks fairly bleak. Why pay when you can “borrow” it from Google images or just shoot it yourself? You can come up with a gimmick that separates you from the pack. And of course there’s always specific products that need photos, and weddings and such. Simple supply, demand, and ease of creation though means the value will come down in many cases, pretty much inevitably. I also think many photographers don’t want to admit that once the technical barriers are taken away, lots of people have a decent sense of composition, and the visual sophistication of Joe Plumber is constantly on the rise.
Painting’s no different really, just less of it I guess. I could have bought my own Mona Lisa in Shenzhen, China for a song. I wonder what Leonardo would think.