The photographer today
To anyone in the public interested in analyzing how the role
of the photographer is radically changing with technological
advances as the need arises to rethink the profession and
its social function.
What is the role of the photographer today? It seems to
be a simultaneously obvious and absurd question. However,
any attempt to respond leads to a void. Why do we need photographers
today when all of us are photographers?
“Recently I’ve gotten many complaints about
how the digital age has turned everyone in the world into
a photographer,” says Pedro Meyer in editorial
so many people armed with cameras, photographers feel threatened
that their means of making a living might be diminished,
so they take on a defensive attitude.
There are those who believe
that only individuals who understand the photographic process
should be capturing images and that their overproduction
does nothing more than devalue the medium as a logical consequence
of any inflationary process.”
It might be suffocating,
worrying, and even terrifying for photographers to think that
these changes are leaving them out in the cold. What is important
is to rethink the way one works.
#81 Meyer continued
on the subject:
“So, instead of feeling pity for oneself, it is better
to take the next step and ask oneself what’s next?
How can a photographer survive in today’s world?
is changing all the time and what might be a good solution
today, might not be so great in a year or two.
In general, it
seems to be that a great change has taken place in the size
and scope of the market for photographic work done by independent
photographers. Nowadays, there are a large number of solutions
for those who need photos to illustrate whatever they need
and they no longer need to hire photographers to carry out
However, one might also think about the quantity
of images taken by professional photographers that are produced
and published every day, which could be in the thousands. Publicity
relies heavily on the photographic image and generally those
companies that take their brand seriously hire professional
photographers. In art, photography is one of the genres that
is sold the most and prices can reach thousands of dollars.
Society depends on this medium for almost everything that
has to do with communication, education, science, and business.
Many photographers are becoming millionaires, while many
others are not, but that happens in all professions; the
problem resides in how society is structured.
For many years,
we understood that one of the photographer’s
main functions was to document. That has not changed, but
all images are in some way documents. The notion of the photographer
traveling all over the world with his Leica in hand taking
wonderful photos for a magazine is no longer so common.
documentary genre continues to be important, but now it is
digital and its most important forum for distribution is the
Internet, with an occasional exhibition or book, which has
forced many photographers in this area to rethink their function
and the way they can continue to work in the field. The documentary
video is currently enjoying a sort of heyday and although an
image in movement and a fixed one are not the same, they both
continue to be images and documents; so it can offer a possibility.
#78 Meyer offered the following reflection:
“Furthermore, the process of the democratization
of information has sparked a strong reaction to restrict the
use of the new digital tools, including photography.
use of all of these new tools advances to explore the narrative of stories in
the digital age, most societies on the planet try to severely restrict its use.
I am certain there is a direct relationship with the ease
of its use. It has granted power to the average citizen to
express his or her own point of view, which evidently escaped
the traditional means of control used by the powerful.”
must not only rethink their social function, but also the very
way they take photos; they must assume that they are working
with a technological medium whose nature is in constant flux
in the tools and forms of expression and that one of the main
needs is to be up-to-date to be able to continue exercising
the profession in a purposeful way.
As Meyer wrote in editorial
“In fact, we are seeing a transcendental transformation
in who takes photos and for what purpose. The rise of an
immense number of individuals who are capturing images that
are not particularly good or even interesting, except for
his/her family or friends, makes us reconsider, what does
it mean to be a professional photographer? And it is not
enough to simply have the technical skills to take a photo,
which was the case in the past, but rather new criteria enter
into play, depending on the ultimate purpose of the image.”
About an hour.
A historian, publisher, researcher, curator, teacher, or
A video projector and computer, depending on the speaker’s