Rethinking Photographers: Photojournalism & Amateur Aesthetics

The rise of user generated content has changed the way photography is used in a number of sectors especially journalism. In the past a newspapers would dispatch a journalist to cover a specific event or rely in an agency photographer to provide the images to support the copy. In the case of some key news events it could be several days before a photographer could get to the specific location take the images and transfer them back to the news desk. In a world where we value speed of news delivery as an important factor user generated content allows the printed press to remain relevant when competing against television news channels. Of course there are other benefits for newspapers who have seen their revenue source reduce of recent years because typically the creator of user generated content does not get paid for their images.

The ability for modern technology to render an almost perfect image which can maybe considered as too clinical might explain why people love filters that introduce imperfections such as ageing, scratches, light leaks or mimic older film stock. This is explored in an article  Photo Filter Apps: Understanding Analogue Nostalgia in the New Media Ecology by Elena Caoduro [1]. Though if used inappropriately or indiscriminately result in a loss of meaning or relevance.

It is wrong to assume that photo filters are solely used by non-photographers in their post-production workflow. For a Professional Photographer not to consider use of photofilter apps as part of their workflow could be viewed as reckless in a commercial environment where a filter speed-up post processing produce a positive impact to the bottomline. Though what is key is that the Professional users those tools to complete complete the 80% task in 20% of the time freeing up time to work on the fine tuning that will differentiate their work from that of others.

As a photographer I could take the view that User Generated Content and Photo Filters are killing the profession instead I take the view that individual creative ideas are even more important today than in the past and that the level of quality expected by clients has increased.

[1] Photo Filter Apps: Understanding Analogue Nostalgia in the New Media Ecology Elena Caoduro University of Southhampton




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