Quantity vs. Quality in the digital age
In the age when everyone with a camera is suddenly a photographer, those who make a career of the art struggle to find notoriety amongst an endless stream of selfies and candids.
Countless images are created and posted every day. The quality of which will vary from those taken with a cell phone, to professionally crafted works of art. However, whether or not an image will mean anything to anyone is a different argument.
“When you are subjected to a lot of anything, you eventually become desensitised to it, and it will decay your ability to be struck by something in particular,” said Steve Osmond, a local portrait and boudoir photographer.
Osmond said he believes that in today’s world, it would take something truly outstanding to make an impact on your life, and even then, the impact may only last for a fleeting period of time.
“It’s always about impact,” said Benjamin Von Wong, a conceptual photographer famous for his hyper-realistic style, conservation efforts and social impact projects.
“I try to figure out how to create the greatest impact on someone’s life with the projects I take on and that changes over time; I think it really varies for everybody,” said Von Wong.
He also emphasised that the meaning of an image comes when it is being created to enhance someone else’s life.
Images that are simply captured just for the heck of it are those that are dragging attention away from the photographs that are created to bring to life a vision. As such, photographs that are crafted to have meaning or tell a story often become overlooked and their meaning is lost.
“A guy-with-a-camera is happening often [and] is someone who will constantly throw a ton of images out there to see what will stick,” said Osmond.
“They are looking for notoriety or to make a statement with a machine-gun style of shooting that unfortunately too often works.”
Von Wong said, “the difference is the intent behind it. If you’re capturing a photo, just pressing the button versus creating a photo — you have a vision and you’re trying to bring it to life.”
To students who are interested in photography, or are already experienced in the field, Von Wong extended an invitation to “aspire to be different.”
“The world doesn’t need another photographer, but the world could always use your point of view and your perspective — something new and refreshing,” said Von Wong.
“A photographer will craft the image, know what he wants going in and then plan and light to make that idea come to life. The difference is the plan with the goal in mind,” said Osmond.
Dorian Munday, Chief of Health and Safety for Quixotic Photography said, “every single time I take part in creating an image, it’s a brand new adventure.”
“I feel a sense of pride knowing that I helped bring a beautiful image and a beautiful story together, it invokes my sense of adventure and wonder,” said Munday.
The common consensus of what makes a photograph meaningful is evidenced by the time it takes to visualize and plan the image, followed by the careful execution that brings it to life.
Munday said he believes that similar with any art form, the people who have the passion need to keep up the creativity.
“Creating images that have a message is really difficult because what you’re doing is you’re adding a layer of complexity to an image, and it’s not an easy problem to solve,” said Von Wong.
“I think the key is just to start, if you don’t try you’re never gonna get there.”