History & Future of the dSLR

Started Jun 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Re: The Sheep say "Baaaahhhh"
In reply to John Cerra2, Jun 14, 2013

John Cerra2 wrote:

I think the Sun Times decision tells you more about the current state of economics for a newspaper, and not where photography is going.

So we agree, here.

Since the advent of the internet, the printed ink newspaper has been the relic as newspapers moved their content to an electronic format. Cheap fast bandwidth brings video into the mix, you could never do that with a printed paper. So guess what...written stories get smaller too, when the story can be delivered like a tv news show.

But we don't, here.

The idea that responsive electronic publication and video are improved "alternatives" to static print and still photography is one that the newspapers themselves have embraced to explain their situation.  They also like to cry that people won't pay for quality content when net "alternatives" can be had for free.   But these are partial truths at best.

There are millions upon millions of customers who do *not* regard the HuffPo as an "improved" version of the New York Times, or the Chicago Tribune, or the Boston Globe, or the Baltimore Sun.   They don't regard nuanced, professionally sourced, reported, and written articles or photography as a "relic" that aggregated "crowd-sourced" iPhone videos and punditry have improved upon.  There are millions upon millions of people who are willing to pay for the good stuff.   There are millions upon millions of people who'd rather read than be told, who find more meaning in amazing still moments than some kid's dizzy smartphone videos.   There's still so much to be said for knowing how to tell a story.

The problem is that many papers (ahem, Sun Times) hadn't exactly been giving us "the good stuff" for a long time before the advent of the net.  The papers cry that people won't pay for quality content, but many of them haven't been "quality content" themselves for a generation!  If your only choice is between crap you have to pay for and crap you get for free, net crap for free is the obvious winner.

Traditional news organizations don't need to turn themselves into the HuffPo to be "competitive."  It's a race to the bottom they've already lost.  Instead, they need to double down on their strength: professionalism, detail, nuance, accuracy.  The real alternative to much of what's on the net is *quality*; blaming developments in format and distribution is just the loser's way of shirking responsibility for mismanaging the good times.

Which is why I suggest that the recent Sun Times photography layoff is more an indictment of the organization's corporate mismanagement than it is a "sign of the times."   Rather than taking a critical look at what they're trying to sell (and their own management of its quality), it's easier to just accept and parrot the competitor's line that professional words and photography are something from the past.

Which circles us back to the OP, who's doing something quite similar: handing down someone else's empty line about technology spelling irrelevance rather than producing, himself, something original that argues its own relevance.  If you one day find that you're no longer interested in your own photographs, I assure you: it's not a sign of your prescience to a great social sea change; it's just a sign that you aren't being very original.

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