SkylightArchitecture in Photography as Art. 1826 – First photo ever.
By 1930, about a billion photos were taken a year.
By 1970, about 10 billion photos were taken a year.
By 1990, about 57 billion photos were taken a year.
By 2000, about 86 billion photos were taken a year.
Today, we take more than 380 billion photos a year. *
Flickr holds 8 billion photographs and Facebook says it adds that many every 2 months.Facebook claims uploads of photos in the 200,000 per minute range.*
Who sees all of these? How many are really worth looking at? I don’t know of any statistics on how much art was created from point to point on a timeline. That means these impressive numbers don’t represent how many “good” photos are in the big picture. One must assume that if there are only one tenth of one percent that might be considered artwork, that there are considerably more photographic artworks being created today than ever before.
So how do we identify the great artists? Who is our future Cartier-Bresson or William Klein? Even more difficult to discover is how an artist dedicated to the medium of the photograph, brings his work to the public eye.
In the past there was the magazine. National Geographic, Vogue, Life and other big names played the role of the artists patron. They would invest and nurture young artists to make their product stand apart. They looked and watched, ever vigilant to discover the next great photographer. The online website experience has all but replaced the magazine as we knew it. I don’t know of any websites that do for artists what the magazine news and fashion cultures did.
We have plenty of places to share our photos but not much in the way of curation or guidance.
This does indeed sound dire. I believe this is just the headlong wave of change. The past had the local royals patronizing the artists of their choice. My more recent scenario holds the paper publishing industry to this task. This responsibility is falling now directly on the artist. He or she must own the process of self promotion. Social media must be leveraged and managed. Web content, email and digital products all fall to the artist. There are options for how this gets done. It can be outsourced to an advocate or paid for as a service. It can no longer be ignored. The patron is dead. Long live the patron.
I have included below a couple of documentaries I discovered on YouTube about two very interesting and well know photographers. Watch them and gain some insight on the artists mindset. Be aware that even if you are a great self promoter, you must still be true to your art.
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