Is Instagram Compromising Photography?

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If you’re wanting your screen to be filled with beautiful imagery, you don’t have to look far.  Instagram is filled with exceptional photographers creating exceptional photography.  However, this abundance has caused us to ask the following question:  Are we becoming desensitized to great imagery?

Prior to the days of social media, if you wanted to experience art you would attend a gallery, purchase a magazine, coffee table book, or go to the library.  Today, social media has become a feast so luxurious for the eyes, the abundance might be making us immune to the work and effort it took to create the imagery. 

Instagram has become a hub where after diligent, daily work you can grow your "followers" and achieve "Influencer" status.  At this point, companies will pay you to travel, photograph, and share their location, brand or product.  Is this one of the last frontiers of making a living from photography? If this is the case, have we sacrificed something precious about our craft by being content with someone clicking "Like" on the post but the engagement stops there?  

Rather than pondering and gazing at beauty, are we swiping after 3.5 seconds to the next image? Furthermore, where there once was dialogue and discussion about images in forums, art shows, galleries, or photo clubs, images are now being consumed after a quick glance and a swipe.  Are we satisfied with that?

The accessibility of travel, reasonably priced photographic gear, and digital cameras has opened photography to the masses.  Photographing at pro levels is no longer limited just to professional photographers.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch people find an outlet that they can be creative and grow in.  For all of us, it’s an escape, release and invitation to explore. 

This question isn’t about photography needing to go back to being exclusive.  An inclusive approach as Keith and I have found has initiated relationships that we can’t imagine living without.  This is a conversation about valuing our work, and wanting it to be the gateway to conversation about photography, art, life, lessons learned, and philosophy.   

We want to hear from you.  What causes you to stop and gaze at a photograph?  Are you desensitized to great imagery?  Do you crave more dialogue about your work?

Intimacy With Nature

It's dark as you hit the snooze button one more time. Sunrise waits for no one. You roll out of your warm bed, fumble around in the dark for the clothes shoved into your pack, grab your gear and without looking in the mirror you walk out the door of your hotel.  Driving through the dark, a special spot in mind, crunching leaves under your feet, branches breaking, you arrive. You wait.  Watching light, watching movement, scanning for your perfect composition.  

As predictable as the sunrise is, there's nothing routine about the display of rays, color and light. Click click click.   Working in tandem with the crescendo of light, you become a part of the scene. Alone at that place, you make a memory with the landscape.  Etched in your memory, waiting for you to go home and bring it back to life: Waiting for you to relive the moment.  

Intimacy with nature is the essence of all great photographic work.  Being content to sit for days on end, having no control over the climate or the elements, you wait.  Nature has only One Master, and it's not humanity.  Perhaps that's what keeps us passionate.  We can't control the light, the movement, or the shadows.  Humbly, we wait, we watch and we receive.  

We fall in love with the familiar.  There's beauty in a place you know well; It's like coming home.  The compositions are old friends.  Yet each display of light, each birth of morning is new, different, inviting.  

We crave the unknown.  Places undiscovered, not yet brought to life through the lens.  Places all our own.  It's a different type of falling in love.  You fumble your way around.  You sit quietly and watch.  Taking your time, exploring angles.  Watching the magic of changing light.  New sounds, new scents, and the location will unfold for those who are willing to be its servant.  

This is the art of photography.  Falling endlessly in love with nature is where it all begins.