Can the memory of a photograph be better then the image itself ? Do we tend to embellish what we have seen and liked ? Most probably so. The memory of a photograph contains , on top of the graphic visualization of the image, the sum of all the emotions and memories linked to it : The personal experience. It contains all the subjective association that we have made while looking at it, thus creating a highly personal layer that the original vision did not have. Thus, what we remember of a photograph we love is much better than the original. Are we disappointed when we see it again ? Most often not. Since it had triggered all these satisfying internal connection the first time around, it will do so again and again. Unless, if for some reason, when we had first looked at it, we misinterpreted it. Of rare occurrence, but it can happen when we are in a non typical heighten emotional state when we were first exposed to the photograph. Or our lives has taken us down a different path. A photograph you thought was great during your teenage years my not seem the same when you are a 50 years old . It can still, however, connect you back to comfortable memories. The memory of a photograph is always better than the original because of our personal input.
Thus, in pure logic, the more generic an image the better. It should serve a canvas for personal experience, right ? Well, absolutely not. because a generic image doesn’t trigger any emotions. It just stays blandly generic. in order to communicate to its viewers, a photographers needs to be as personal as possible . He should forget about trying to please everyone, everywhere. And this is where commercial stock photography has failed in the latter years. Obsessed with RPi numbers, they have flooded the market with one size fits all images empty of emotional triggers. When the miccrostockers came into the market, they brought back in the emotions that had left the industry for a while. And besides pricing obviously, they beat their pro elders on content. They just got more response to their images.
Of course, they are now doing the same mistake as the pros and relying on charts, equations and past revenues to dictate their next images. And like their predecessors, they are seeing revenue declining. No one can claim and secure photographic success. It is probably harder to maintain than to attain. However, by succeeding in ignoring the false sirens of success, one can easily navigate closer to the surface. If one continues to deliver a personal experience to its viewer, than 99% of the battle is won. The rest is marketing