Friday, September 17, 2010

photography versus food

Over the course of the past ten years, the food industry has experienced a seismic shift. Foodies have become a part of mainstream culture, and a new class of celebrity chefs has arisen from the back of cramped kitchens to your living room screen in HD.

It got me thinking if there will ever be a similar surge for photography. The advent of much improved and more affordable DSLR equipment has done much to bring photography into the hands of amateurs, but I don't think photography will ever be as important or interesting to the masses as food. Every industry will always have its superstars, but whether those elite representatives become stalwarts of pop culture is a little more telling about an industry's place in society. I don't think we'll ever see a Photography Network, but that might be a good thing. The very thought of the equivalent of a "Rachel Ray" in photography is enough to unsettle my stomach for the rest of the day.

Food is an essential need. Even the most expensive food essentially serves to quench a primal hunger, albeit in an inefficient way. Photography and its enjoyment might feel like a need to some, but it really is something beyond the confines of essentials like food, water, clothing, and shelter. It may just be that simple. For the most part, the average person is only interested in photography to the extent that it allows them to document their weddings and capture the growth of their children.

Lately, I have started to wonder what success in photography looks like. There is certainly something to the notion that success in life is in part due to being in the right place at the right time. We can put ourselves in the right place, but timing is a bit more complicated. With photography, my end goal has always been to be the best photographer that I can be. Where that leads still largely remains an open frame, but I am certainly enjoying the journey. That big wave may never come, but for the moment, I just like being out on the cool surf under the warm sun.

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