Things always change, very little stays the same forever. Time can sometimes either be seen as being on your side, or as your enemy – but one thing it can never be is static! As a very wise person (my wife!) once told me ‘you will never have more time than you do right now!’. So as we have recently flipped the calendar onto the empty pages of what 2015 could possibly hold, it’s exciting to view the time ahead as a blank canvas upon which new ideas can be brought to life. Creativity and technology often go hand in hand when developing new ideas, and this year I have been increasingly challenged by the concept of ‘have less, do more’, inspired by the quote of jazz legend Charles Mingus;
‘Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity’ – Charles Mingus
Creativity and technology exist to push boundaries. You could argue that it is in fact their raison d’être. One particular area where this is especially true is with social photography. Advances in ‘smart’ and ‘wearable’ technology mean we invariably now have both HD video and a photographic device with us at all times. This, combined with the rising prevalence of social media as part of modern communication, has resulted in an exponential rise in the volume of both video and still images that are captured and shared every second of every day.
Technology is forever advancing the quality of consumer compact and pro level DSLR digital cameras. However in reality, the best camera is always going to be the one you have with you, and often now that is the smart phone in your pocket! I used to be one of the sceptics that dismissed these as mere toys compare to ‘real’ cameras, but over time, my opinion on them has changed. Sure they have severe limitations, they lack the control of even a basic compact camera, but these limitations can be used to push the creative ways in which they are used.
Personally I love the challenge set by working with the smart phone cameras limitations, it pushes me to have to think more creatively about suitable subject matter and shot composition. It has made me develop a personal holy trinity for photographic imagery: the content engages, the crop enhances and the angles make it all work!
So with the ever-increasing amount of photos being taken, has the standard, quality or styles of photography changed? Social media sites like Facebook, google+ and Twitter often act as a crude social and cultural barometer of change. Coupled with the ever-increasing popularity of apps such as Instagram and photo sharing sites like 500px, Flickr and YouTube etc. fuel the desire for people to share their images or videos for the world to see. It may be that collectively, society may not have reached its first 10,000 images that Henri Cartier-Bresson referred to just yet!
‘Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst’ – Henri Cartier-Bresson
With the seemingly unending popularity of the ‘selfie’ and it’s spawned associate, the must have accessory ‘selfie stick’, it has fed our self-obsessive photographic narcissism. Is this the new 21st century style of candid photographic portraiture? Is it social commentary and documentation? Or is it that we are simply losing the desire for creative narrative or intrigue in the images we capture? Has photography for the masses simply replaced television as the new ‘bubble-gum for the mind’ to paraphrase the famous Frank Lloyd Wrights quote.
Technology always pushes boundaries. Creativity should also do the same which is often why creativity and new technology can often go hand in hand in opening new areas of artistic exploration. I recently saw some very cool and inspiring drone footage shot by Victor Chu who actually filmed all five of New York City’s boroughs, including the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, rather than just the somewhat over-filmed Manhattan and Brooklyn. Although the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has been quick to try legislate in regards to photo/video graphic drone usage by saying that ‘flying drones in most major cities is illegal’, clearly drone photography and videography is the next ‘big thing’ and will be here to stay, so the legal challenges are to be expected as its natural birthing pains as parameters are established and boundaries pushed!
As always, thanks for taking the time out to read this. Please feel free to share it with your friends, and add any thoughts or comments you might have on it…
PS; The Passion 4 exclusive ‘have less do more’ typographic t-shirt (along with other goodies) is available in a range of colours at my new online store, feel free to visit and buy your own exclusive wearable design inspirational clothing!