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If anyone has assumed that because of my adventures with the Nikon Df, Leica T et al, I'm not shooting my 'Art of point and shoot' 'Smartphone Aesthetic' images and processing them with stacks of filters, then that is far from the case. Since I carry my Nokia 1020 and Blackberry Q10 phones with me whenever I'm out shooting. I'm using those to create a different kind of picture. And if you follow my Instagram / Facebook / Twitter feeds, then you will be aware of that. Incidentally, one of the reasons for this site redesign was to use a layout that allowed me to have a list of recent posts and also a list of recent tweets. All my social media uploads as well as posts from here and my blogger site are all posted to twitter, so it's a good way to see what I'm up to when I'm either out shooting or editing and uploading images.
What's happening on the stock photography front is that I'm uploading different kinds of images to different libraries. Some are now heavily into the 'smart photo' (not sure about that term, but it is creeping in) thing and some are still looking to source 'conventional' images. In fact some still won't have anything to do with anything that looks remotely like it's been filtered.
Now I have no problem with this and in fact it's actually stimulating, since it allows me to consider not only what I'm shooting compositionally, but to be constantly thinking ahead to how I might post process the image. I've always done that to a certain extent, but now I have a lot more options and I can pretty much let my imagination run riot. That's not to say that I firstly find it 'difficult' to load images with filtration because of what I've doing for years and secondly I am still wondering if their is any real long term commercial potential in this. I can't deny however that it is enormous fun.
The 'smartphone aesthetic' however is still having an impact and influence on what and how I create images these days. The Nikon Df may be a knobfest but I'm still using it as a point and shoot. Because of that cameras abilities at high ISO's it really isn't a problem to set a shutter speed or aperture and let the camera work out what ISO it wants to use.
Another consequence of this is the introduction of a 'serendipity factor' and I'm happy to embrace the odd accidental or unplanned image. Spontaneity after all is what my 'smartphone libraries' seem to crave. However there is somewhat of a split here. Some libraries don't seem to have a lot of enthusiasm for images that look like they were created by someone with Parkinsons, who had gone out binge drinking and left their glasses at home, while some show endless enthusiasm for slightly out of focus, shaky images that look like they are the visions of a colour blind action painter on acid. And as is often the case in situations like this, middle of the road doesn't cut it. It seems I have to go all in or all out these days. Some libraries are wanting ultra-sharp, ultra-clean high pixel count, high resolution images and some have decided to go way beyond experimental and avant-garde into territory where the lines are definitely being blurred as to what constitutes photographic or illustrative art. I guess the term images covers a lot of diversity these days and as a child of the sixties I have no problem with attempting to recreate some of the psychedelic adventures of my youth.
And enthusiasm for the old-school, retro chic instagram look shows no signs of abating either. In many ways this what I have most trouble with in terms of persuading myself to do. I do have a real reluctance to process images in a style that look like all those faded family photographs that I was shown in my youth. I still regard vignetted sepia toned images as seriously old-fashioned, but much to my surprise (and I think the surprise of many of my generation) in many sections of social media it's regarded in quite the opposite way. And certainly what goes on in social media is regarded as the epitome of style these days in many sections of the publishing establishment.
So will it last, or will we be back to more conventional imagery in a couple of years? Well I have no answer to that. Besides with the amount of picture taking that goes on these days there will be an awful lot of this kind of imagery around.
But for me I'm actually pretty pleased with what I'm coming up with in all aspects of my picture creation. In fact I can't remember a previous time when I was so enthusiastic about the whole process. And considering how obsessed with photography I am most of the time that's saying something. So I'm happy to ride this wave for as long as it continues to keep going and as someone who dislikes being either 'type cast' or stuck in a rut, these are certainly interesting times. And as a photographer who likes to think of himself as a 'creative artist' in some shape or form, I'm certainly not going to complain about trying different things.
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