Back in the pre-internet days, I had the privilege of twenty five years of gallery hopping every major and minor photo gallery in NYC from '73 to '98 before moving to the left coast. No brag, just fact; it makes me neither expert nor seer- just a guy who's been around some. Have no contacts, no contracts, no agenda to stardom. Just another shmuck with a blog and a love for the medium. I grew up with 35mm B&W exhibits, marveled at the large format color (r)evolution, and currently struggle just to keep up with digital terminology, let alone the actual technology. Been a fun ride, still is- and the following, merely the odd collection of previous quips and observations...
While today's photographers are wisely networking and forming alliances, organizations, and associations to help promote and foster their goals, aspirations and visions via the internet- I worry about today's youth of limited means who express an interest, or passion, for the medium. Initial costs for photographic equipment in this digital age can be prohibitive at best- inkjet papers alone cost more than their silver coated predecessors. Even with recent price decreases, I fear that this medium (whether for art or commerce) will increasingly belong to the fewest of the few who can continue to afford it, particularly in our devolving economy. Shooting digitally "for free" presupposes that you already lay claim to the multi-thousand dollar hardware/software investments that makes it all possible.
And like any other art form, photography is one that continues to be beset by countless ironies. The incredible immediacy and plasticity of digital technology has revolutionized the photographic industry, and yet, has done more to homogenize contemporary photography than anything in its recent history. Meanwhile, photo trend setters call for a sea change to the traditional, pragmatic language that has constituted photojournalism (but offer no viable alternative) while continuing to champion large format color as art, which is already some thirty years old in the tooth- not unlike kids dressed in thirty year old punk regalia talking down hippies. A year or so back, some of the "in the know" proclaimed the resurgence of a B&W revival, even though no such movement actually existed. Perhaps it was merely an extension of those heady Bush years whereby an administration dared believe that they operated in a separate reality of their own wishful making.
One of the great things about getting old, the only great thing about getting old, is that sometimes (sometimes) when you say that you really don't give a rat's ass about something- you really don't. No ifs, ands, or buts. That's not to be negative, it's just that if you're around long enough, you get to see things come and go, learn to recognize the rhythms, the patterns- and if you watch closely and astutely enough, sometimes even learn to recognize the greatness that occasionally rises.
Keeps things honest, and occasionally... interesting.