The 411 Magazine The 411 Issue 1 Jan/Feb 2017 - Page 38




A question I ’ ve been asked many times since I took up photography a decade ago is : ‘ Now that everybody carries a camera on their phone , how are you affected by the ease with which people can take photographs ?’
After the first year , as you ’ d expect , it became tedious , but I am aware that is it a relevant question ! If you meet an off-duty traffic warden , aren ’ t you compelled to ask them why they ’ re so zealous in their duties ? Or do you opt for the swift kick in the shin and leave option ?
Back at the original point , I find myself regularly bombarded with social media ’ s onslaught of visual fodder to brighten my day like a 7 year old boy ’ s trip to IKEA with his mum . And before you smirk at that analogy , it is a good one . Because even a 7 year old can find the odd item to touch , play with and be periodically entertained by , as is the case with most offerings from Instagram , Facebook and the like , it ’ s quickly forgotten as you approach the exit and the food counter !
My answer to the question however , even though it may seem I may not have one , is this . I think the fact that everyone is their own photographer is actually very good for my industry and for a number of reasons . Most obvious is that everyone now sees photography as more than a picture in a catalogue , a foolish moment immortalised for posterity , a billboard or awkward family snap . Even without realising it , people not only take pictures , but become involved in what is needed to take a picture . Photography is therefore much more accessible and that can only be a good thing .
Another benefit of the snap happy society we endure , is that when a selfie doesn ’ t quite cut it , it is soon abundantly clear why photography is a technical and artistic business and a lot more than point and shoot . This saves me the
bother of explaining to the client ’ s guests that standing with your back to the sun doesn ’ t often help an image look more picturesque .
There is however a dark side to our love of taking images , especially of ourselves . It ’ s bad enough that we are bombarded daily with images and stories telling us that we can find happiness by doing that bit more and spending that much more . But now we have the means to quickly capture that image of ourselves , at the right angle , with the best light , when the hair is right , the makeup on point and the dress looking like a million Euros , ( indirect reference to BREXIT , sorry ). If that isn ’ t a machine for breeding vanity , I don ’ t know what is . The only consolation , especially for women , is that seeing how easy it is to pass a filter over an image , hide the blemishes and look like a Karadashian facsimile , it should ease the pressure of wanting to look perfect , ' like the stars in the magazines '.
This last point is important , because modern society gives women a bloody hard time . What is considered beautiful is disturbing in the least . Above all however , and you can trust me on this , the stunning women you see in all those magazines … when they first sit in the chair to have their makeup done , that isn ’ t them . Furthermore , you ’ d be horrified at just how “ ordinary ” most of these stars actually look . There ’ s nothing wrong with that , because as your camera will tell you , your version of beauty might look good , or it may not . But when you put your damned phone down and engage with the people around you , your real beauty has an opportunity to shine through for all to admire !