Art Directors see a lot of photography, a lot of the same photography — just from different photographers

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In the digital age, it’s easy to take a picture. It’s hard to take a picture differently from everyone else though. Isn’t that the thrill of shooting? To take a picture that no one has seen before. I’m not saying I do this. I strive to do this though.

–Kim Lowe

via POP (Photographers on Photography).

There Are 11 Comments On This Article.

  1. this is an obvious and not always correct statement. waste of space. i think the poster made this statement only out of desire for publicity to have their name emailed to everyone.

    how about:
    In the digital age, it’s easy to make a blog post. It’s hard to make a blog post differently from everyone else though. Isn’t that the thrill of writing blogs? To write something that no one has written before before. I’m not saying I do this. I strive to do this though.

    • Hi Hilary. Since you’ve thrown down the gauntlet, how about giving us a link to your uniquely space-worthy and “thrilling” blog?

  2. Get used to it! Lack of specialization leads to tribalization.

    Individuality derives from specialty roles and clearly defined paths. Film photography was a step-by-step mechanical sequence with a clear beginning
    and definitive end. Performance was dependent upon mastering each “individual” part of the process. The difficulty involved in specialization helped to produce image makers with a greater potential for unique identity.

    Lack of specialization leads to tribalization. Digital imaging follows a non-sequential electrical process lacking a clearly defined start or finish. Performance is not based upon mastering individual parts of a process because there is no clearly defined path necessary for producing an image. Democratization provided by a lack of specialty helps to create an environment where work may lack individuality but reflect strong group identity.

    Finally, the images by the featured photographer appear to deviate from standard lifestyle photographs by their use of “space.” My understanding is that the photographer had a previous career as an art director and spent a lot of time dealing with ad copy and layout etc. Performance would be based on the ability to master specialty roles within a sequence of tasks. Competent use of “space” would be critical. Maybe the photographer’s current unique identity in digital imaging can be attributed to her previous specialization in use of space required for art direction.

  3. Great photographs can be made anywhere but if a photographer wants to separate themselves from the rest, part of that could be deciding how to gain additional access. Gain access to what, you say? Anything!

    With airports, malls and rocks stars cordoning off all aspects of otherwise interesting subject matter, a photographer who can match a unique skill, ability or privilege with a special eye has an opportunity to elevate their work and probably gain the interest from Art Directors.

    A good place to begin thinking of how to is Trent Parke’s project with the Syndey Opera House. Or Garry Winogrand’s Arrivals & Departures. Or Annie Leibovitz’s early career at Rolling Stone. Those opportunities of people and place are disappearing. Now it’s up to the photographer to be more creative than ever.

    Access. Access. Access.

  4. Access is necessary for many reasons. The most important is intamacy with the subject, it is one the reasons I like street photography, I have access if there is time on the subjects part to spend more time developing a series of images ratther than one unique randome frame.

    Hillary and the camera, your insites are amazing.

  5. With the advent of the digital age, many have come out of the woodwork calling themselves “Photographers” It has made photography more homogenous. I couldn’t agree with the statement more. It is one of the things that is driving me to be more creative and take more risks to see what I can come up with.

    Chorus to the song I’m writing: [Digital Age Photographer Blues]
    “With their big box store camera kits pop up flash on board
    they mindlessly click away a few hundred frames or more
    memory is cheap you know they can buy 4 gigs for $30 or so and
    with a few hundred frames I know they’ll get a couple good
    ones to ya Oh No!

  6. The reality is if a picture is more than 3.5% different to anything that has come before you might as well be a tree falling in the wood; alone that is, with no-one around. People just won’t get it.

    The trick is to be 3.4% different and then you can be a super successful NEW Radical Artist!

    BTW my take on how much you can be different came from the Oxford Dictionary of Music. apparently they had looked into such things…

  7. I considered whether or not to respond for some time. I interviewed Kim for POP because I saw something fresh and inspiring in her work and the way she presents it. And because with nine years as an agency art director, I thought she would have insights that other photographers would find helpful. She turned out to be one of the most fun, smart and humble photographers I’ve had the pleasure of working with and I am grateful for time and energy she committed to her interview.

    I was so happy for Kim when I saw that Rob had posted an excerpt from her interview on APE because her work would be seen and her funny and insightful interview would be read by a wider audience.

    Mike Moss: I agree space figures as one of the graphic elements in Kim’s work. I find, in her hands, that it carries the spirit of possibility that is the gift of childhood and compels us to be curious and to get out and explore the world and to stay open. She seems to capture the vastness and the simple and delightfully sublime moments that elude us as adults unless we are reminded. Only then do we sometimes make the connection that this is what’s been missing.

    Hilary and the Camera: See below.

    Anyways, I just felt to say something. I am so grateful to the photographers and others I have the privilege of interviewing and want only to share their work with and maybe inspire or provide useful information to others. I think respect is due anyone who gives something of themselves. Not one of them has said it’s easy to put themselves out there.