Erosion takes a long time. Memories not so much. There used to be two groups of photographers, the casual, memory grabbers and the pros. The memory grabbers pick up a camera for family occasions or social events in order to compensate for everyone’s poor memory. Unimportant is the image quality as long as the information is there: the who, the what, the where and inscribed in red letters in the bottom right corner of the print, the when. Pros, however, have one thing in mind : make revenue from their photographs. Willing to capture any type of subject, including helping capture memories, they pick up a camera with the clear intend to make a living from it.

The two worlds lived in perfect harmony for many, many years as they hardly ever interacted. Image quality was the realm of the pro, image quantity was for memory grabber. As the photography world turn to digital, in the last 10 years, a new class of photographers has emerged. They are not memory grabbers, they are not pros either. They take a lot of images, most of them of good to great quality but couldn’t care less about revenue or registering a memory. Rather, what they capture are moments. Their images hardly make it in any known publications. Yet, in some circles, they are superstars. Much more, in fact, than established photographers. They have millions of followers who take everything they say, write, recommend and shoot as pure gold.

Their subject matter are mostly travel, landscape, architecture, and pretty much anything that doesn’t require much work and combines pretty colors with interesting shapes. Some push digital trickery to its edges, using photoshop filters, HDR and Instagram to enhance their photographs. Others just enjoy privileged access to particularly photogenic locations. All post images on a heavy daily rotation, anywhere from personal blog to social media channel. They post and post and post again. They are obsessive about posting their images and relish themselves in the flow of comments, likes, +’ reposts, tweets and pins they get.

If the memory grabbers currency is well, memory and the pro’s is hard cash, the social media photographers’ currency is social recognition. The more, the better. To enrich their experience, they also dedicate themselves to teaching others how to achieve the same degree of excellence and success they feel they have achieved. In some cases, it is close to a religious endeavor. They take their social media photo instructors role very very seriously and dispatch words of photographic wisdom free of charge to anyone willing to listen.

Every photographer seeks social recognition, of course. In fact, that is the main reason we all take pictures. The memory grabber seeks it to cement his family ties, the pro for his business relationship and the social media photographer to define his role in society. It’s just the nature of who we are.

Photo by csm_web

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