Clip from This American Life (Showtime)
The clip above relates the story of a group of school children who pretend to film a schoolmate being beaten up rather than help him. Sure, young kids will do that sort of thing. But it reminded me of the story of Chinese pothole photographer Liu Tao, tabloid photography in general, and exploitive photo journalism.
Sadly, I think a lot of people today are more likely to take pictures first and help second. Now that cameras are ubiquitous the problem is worse than ever. Is it the camera changing the way people behave or is bad human behavior just finding a new outlet? Probably a little of both.
[Please welcome Jim Crotty to Photodoto. Jim is a pro photographer with a studio in Dayton, Ohio, called Picture Ohio, LLC. He shoots using Canon EOS digital, both the 5D and 1D Mark II, as well as Canon L lenses. His personal and stock work involves nature, landscapes and wildlife. Like many photographers, he started young, developing prints in a black and white darkroom. His work can be viewed on his site at ohiophoto.org or on his Flickr account under username jimcrotty.com. -- JW]
I have finally gotten around to writing my first article for photodoto.com. I’m thrilled to be part of such a talented online community of photographers.
Rather than starting-off with an article that has to do with the more technical aspects of photography, I thought I’d talk a little bit about artistic approach.
Nature and landscape photography is the type of work that I find most enjoyable and represents the foundation of my photographic career—a foundation that I still try to stay actively involved with while becoming more involved in commercial photography.
As Flickr has grown in both size and popularity, it is increasingly becoming a “go to” source for photographs and photographers. Photo editors, galleries, newspapers, magazines, authors, ad agencies, artists, and more are all browsing Flickr every day looking for interesting photos, photographers, and inspiration.
“To take photographs means to recognize—simultaneously and within a fraction of a second—both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson
You’ve probably heard people say they make photographs. Maybe you thought nothing of it. But making a photograph is a distinctly different approach to photography than taking. Taking implies coming upon or discovering something, lying in wait, to grab or trap. When you take photos, you go into the world and you find scenes to capture. Making implies building a scene from parts. Creating something from nothing. Choosing which elements to include and which to exclude.
There’s something fascinating about a county fair. I’d never been much of a fan of the whole concept until after I’d gotten hooked on photography. And then, one Summer, I went to the fair and brought my camera along. Maybe it was because photography had taught me how to see again. How to see the wonder and grotesquerie that abounds at a county fair. There are more photo opportunities per square meter than almost anyplace I can think of.