While reviewing this collection of album cover portraits (see link), I noticed one possible criteria for selection that was completely absent: one of technical excellence. Dylan’s portrait for his “Blond on Blond” album, for example, is a photograph with “camera shake” – usually the bane of many a photographer when the camera or subject (or both) are moving in unison with a slow shutter speed. These photographs usually get binned. Nevertheless, this photo has succeed in becoming part of the iconic vocabulary of modern music. In this day and age where precision and rationality are venerated – and have the technology to deliver it – we are in danger of forgetting why things “work” and why they don’t. Perfection doesn’t work. Perfection rarely interests people. It’s boring. Like music itself, it’s the seemingly random empty spaces between notes that confers harmony and emotion and not only the perfect notes themselves. Photographers don’t need to be perfect technicians to make great photographs – they need to be able to capture images that convey emotion with sublime subjectivity. The best photographers are usually humanists. They understand that life is messy (like this poorly written piece) and transient and create work that celebrates this fact rather than trying to ‘perfect’ it.
Not so sure the advice being offered here is completely new – as an advertising art director with over 30 years of experience, I’ve always been on the lookout to commission photographic talent that transcends the mundane and pedestrian. However, what is new is the tsunami of sameness that now inundates the world of image-making. The sheer volume of visual work being produced, due to the ubiquity of digital technologies, has democratised a once exclusive and expensive club. Today, everybody can be a photographer and everybody is. Daring to be different has never been more relevant in the current creative marketplace. Which is only good news in my book. People will always pay for what is rare. Seeing the world differently and having the guts to pursue that vision is rare. For that, you will always find a market. Good luck. And as Steve Jobs would say, “Think Different”.
Link to article: The Hard Truth Why No One Will Hire You As A Photographer | Fstoppers.