Who is The Photographer If Everybody's Taking Pictures?


At a PBS NewsHour segment, a film photographer named Van Sickle shared a daring, intriguing but honest insight of today's photography. Who is the photographer, if everybody's taking pictures?

In the strictest definition, a photographer is someone who takes pictures with a camera. That is all. There are no aesthetic criteria as to who and who aren't photographers. But photography has become part of the art world and is only growing its presence. But perhaps, being a photographer isn't about the person himself, but the results he produces. And perhaps, everyone is actually a qualified photographer now that anyone can have a camera.

But that doesn't mean he is automatically great. The photographer Van Sickle said:

'Technology doesn't change the way photography is. It just makes it more available to more people, which means there’s going to be much, much more really terrible pictures taken or pictures that are totally dependent on subject, which is all, all right. If you were there when the Hindenburg caught on fire, and you took a picture of it, that’s a great photograph. But you’re not a great photographer, because you can’t repeat that in everyday things. What a great photographer does is, they are consistently able to make something in a style that’s personal to themselves. My pictures don’t depend on extreme sharpness. They depend on the composition and on the subject and on the way I see it.”

The preview image was taken from the video.

2017-09-17 #tutorials #videos #art-photography #photohraphy #van-sickle


  1. montagu
    montagu ·

    a wise man

  2. cyberscriber2world
    cyberscriber2world ·

    Who is an artist when everyone is artistic? At what point do we seperate the skills or achievements of the amature hobbiest from the formally trained professional who "gets paid" or earns a living through the pursuit? From the perspective of the viewer of the work,,,,there is NO point of seperation. Oh a "pro" might observe different elements of an images composition, lighting and presentation or interpretation; but that merely reflects the education and experience of the viewer and NOT the quality of the painting or photograph. The interest/quality/value/marketability of a image can be effected by "what"/or subject (Mc Gruder film of JFK assasination,,,first lunar images by Neil Armstrong or Hindenburg Crash; great examples of photo's that have value because they are "rare" or historicly unique. (Irraspectful of the shooters skills or profession or equiptment.)The distinction of if the photograper is a "pro" or artist or not, is but a significance we apply in association with the image. A wonderful shot viewed in a old dusty molding photo album is just as wonderful as the same shot viewed in a Museum of fine Art. Somehow "paying" for the view enlarged or in a better setting environmentally seems to make it better,,,more "professional" or valid/artistic. Actual "quality" is more likely to be observed in a "pro" by the 1) Quality-expense of the equiptment used, and/or the unique area or type of photo taken. For example, medium format and experiemental (infrared-ultraviolet spectrum), astrophotography etc generally cost prohibitive area's that fewer hobby/weekend shooters venture into. Shots of rare wildlife species from remote locations, war photography and deep science shots like electron-microscope shots are generally beyond the majority of photographers irraspective of wealth, vocation or experience level. Of course, there are always exceptions to the general rules. There ARE amatures who have studied, shoot with film and develope their own works in old manual (analog) "chemical" dark rooms, who travel the word with outrageously expensive camera's that capture cutting edge images. There are novices with cheap cameras who just happen to be at the right place at the right moment who by fate push the shutter button. Some of "those" type may not know the term "shutter", or exposure, or f-stop or even linear perspective or rule of 3s, yet garner "the shot" by instinct or accident. The image (with its own intrinsic qualities) knows no difference by its origions. Only "we" assign good/bad value based on the appitites of the eye and soul.

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