Happy Holidays Photographers

- - The Future

The holidays are nearly upon us and unlike the Thanksgiving break where you had to explain to your drunk uncle George that you really do take photos for a living and that “No, I’ve never met Britney Spears,” this holiday is all about your immediate family and friends and their deep appreciation for your unique ability to take fantastic photographs of everyone and everything. There’s no photo editor or art director breathing down your neck and no deadlines to meet nothing really except the pure joy of taking pictures with people you love.

It’s amazing to me that people would deny the presence of talent in the making of a professional photographer. With my knowledge of this industry and exposure to great photography and knowing what goes into making a great photograph and how to identify great photography the holidays are the time of year when I break out the camera and realize that my photos suck. With all that I know I still have a really hard time making much more than above average images. Whatever, eat it.

In the holiday spirit I have a prediction to make about photography in the future. Magazines and Newspapers can squeeze the life out of their contributors all they want, but mark my words from the soon to be smoldering crater of the publishing industry will rise all the original content creators (not the content packagers? doh!) and photographers will prove once and for all, that they are superior, to all other means of communication. Is there any doubt that photography has always trumped words for immediacy and video for introspection? Because, as much as I want to blather on about this and that and the other thing, drowning in the gray space or leaning inches from my screen to stare at a tiny video box with a crappy jumpy picture of some shit-bag getting hit in the nutz with a skateboard what really gets me cranked is amazing photographs that sing off the screen. I think computers were made for photography (editors always bemoan photos printed in the magazine never look as good as they did on the screen) and blogs without photographs suck and those sucky blogs that are currently making money will be trumped by blogs with photographs and those blogs will be trumped by blogs with killer photographs and so forth. And, soon it’s not about undercutting each other it’s about overbidding because there are too many jobs and the only way to fend off the clients is to make insane demands but that never seems to do the trick so you have to just stop showing up for shoots and instead go for a joy ride in your Ferrari smashing empty magnums of champagne against the road signs and prank calling your agent pretending to be the photo editor at some crappy magazine that pays for shit and uses photos like a website from 2007. In the future photographers will rule the world.

I’ll meet you there.

See you Next Year.

There Are 51 Comments On This Article.

  1. I feel like we were all just in a huddle before the game, and APE is the coach giving the motivation speech to get us amped up for the game!

    APE may or may not be right, but at least now we can head into 08 ready to play ball!!!

  2. Happy Holidays, APE. You may be uninspired by your photos, but with your pithy writing, broad knowledge of the industry, and undeniable passion, this has quickly become my favorite photography column. Despite the fact that you don’t take pictures. Wait a second … so maybe photography isn’t that important after all. And now the crushing despair sets in. Thanks a LOT.

  3. “and blogs without photographs suck and those sucky blogs that are currently making money will be trumped by blogs with photographs and those blogs will be trumped by blogs with killer photographs and so forth..”

    You’ve really got your Nostradamus cloak on for that prediction. Thanks for a great blog read this year. Here’s to more insight, rantings, and such and such. Have a great Crimbo.

  4. Hahahaha. I like the sentiment and I’d like to believe it’s true but I regretfully doubt that our economy will turn around that fast. Maybe things will look up, oh say after November 4th? I still have hope for anything after January 20th, 2009. Ha ha.

    I think editors don’t like the photos in print because A) they’re looking at transmitted light as opposed to reflected – same age-old problem as when everything was chromes on a lightbox, B) the big magazines work with high capacity (aka: crappy) printers and C) the editors probably wouldn’t know a great print job (or original fine C, silver gelatin or even inkjet/”giclee” print) if it came up and bit them on the ass.

    Anyway, that’s my cantankerous tirade. Happy 08. I’m off to hit the the eggnog until Jan 1st.

  5. Your blog is pure sugar + the brain + the balls.

    This blog is my new Bible. I read it from Montreal.

    Reading this blog is worth a thousand time the theory classes… once you’ll include the practice, you’ll send diplomas over the mail…

    That’s the future.

    Happy holidays from Canada.

  6. @ 8 you are so big pimpin Miami vice JLPFL, I guess you are rollin up in your 1000 horse power Bugatti Veyron 16.4 now that the Ferrari is out of commission. Do you have a roof rack for your c-stands or does that follow safe and sound ridin on those 22″s in the back of the H2 ! Are you writing all this shit off ?

  7. You are truly wise and just.

    Your brain must be enormously large to contain so much good information. Like those guys on Star Trek with the huge heads that only communicate telepathically through the throbbing vein on their foreheads.

    I see the future as bright and shiny.

    Thanks for the great blog!
    I’ts the best one I read.

  8. “Is there any doubt that photography has always trumped words for immediacy and video for introspection?”

    Yes! Thank you, APE, for reminding us that, at the end of the day (or the year), that’s why we take photos. May your predictions come true!

  9. Prediction noted – “soon to be smoldering crater” is quite an indelible image – how soon I wonder is “soon to be?” Or as Morrisey (an T.A.T.U.) says maybe it’s “How Soon Is Now?”

    Have a great time away from the computer screen – and thanks for the read..

  10. Peter Schafrick

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

    APE: Thanks for the inspiration and optimism…. looking forward to more in ’08.

  11. Thank you Mr PE (I read Jack today) for a wonderful forum and opportunity for all of us to learn a lot from you and a little from each other. Enough ranting to keep it interesting but manages to not fall into the drivel bucket. We all drop our books into the void and wonder what goes on behind those big glass doors with all the cute assistants running around. Is it some sort of coven, is there a party going on at our expense, did I not get the call because I should have switched the order of the 3rd and 17th photo? You have helped to demystify the process and reinforce the idea that magazines have needs, that they are looking for the best guy/gal for the job, that its as much a struggle for you as it is for us to make it work (except that you get paid every week). That above all, strong imagery wins.

    Movies are great, youtube is funny but I think we all remember the first time we got the film back from the lab, or the image emerged out of the white in the dektol and we saw that shot that hooked us. The power and immediacy of a great still shot will never diminish.

    As to your holiday shots just pick that sepia preset on the back of the camera and set your zoom to the widest angle setting and go in real tight on the faces, keep the flash on. It will be Eugene Richards meets Terry Richardson and it will be brilliant. Oh, and make sure that everyone is in some state of undress.

    Cheers & have a great holiday!

  12. ” (editors always bemoan photos printed in the magazine never look as good as they did on the screen) ”

    CALIBRATE in ’08.
    Thanks for everything this blog is the best!

  13. APE, you are awesome. I love your blog, it’s informative and inspiring.

    I’ve started my own blog to celebrate photography and life. Thanks for the inspiration to begin!

  14. cb, thats the best general overall photoadvice i have read in a long time. or just cleartape some colourful candy-wrapper over your flash. yellow/golden if you like your people. use green if you want to annoy them. ;)

    happy holidays to all of you!

  15. Don’t wait for the apocalypse to see something new and unique on the rise. There’s something very interesting brewing in Seattle. The Strobist thinks so, and so does Chase Jarvis.

    Take a look

  16. todd huffman

    haha! Happy Holidaze to you! I doubt your photos suck. You know the only way to get better, and that is to shoot more (and buy a canon 5d!). Besides, there’s always Photoshop. ;) I’ve always thought those with the best ideas will always finish first, no matter what kind of race it is.

  17. @ 26 and 27:

    As far as the tape over the flash, Chip Simons already called that one. And even though Archibald shot the Sex Machines first, now Grecco is trying to peddle it. Par for the course, for Grecco.

    And I thought we were rid of Chase Jarvis, Flickr, etc. I thought this area was for professionals?

  18. You forgot to mention how at the holidays every relative you have will ask you to take pictures of the family get together, especially group pictures with their little point and shoot cameras, because somehow being a photographer makes you capable of magically capturing “artistic”-full smile-front facing-can’t turn off the flash on this stuipid camera- shots that they are somehow incapable of making.

  19. APE – thanks for all the time you put into this blog. And … thanks for the thoughts for the future too. I know you’re right. We all just get scared because while the power of the image stays our relation to the medium is constantly changing.

    Family photos are fun if you cut yourself a little slack. I for one don’t want to work it as hard as necessary to get killer images of the family – embarrassing but true. Hey … I’m on vacation man. In your case, I’ll bet part of your challenge is that you are filled with criticism and self loathing because of your professional position. Right out of the box you want to compete with Chris and Annie without shooting at least 1 million frames. Just a thought.

    Here’s to the New Year everyone!

  20. Yes, holiday time. The family is screaming for pictures, which now require spending lots of time in front of the computer, only to get criticized for spending all that time in front of the computer!

    I’d rather put the camera away and look at other people’s pictures.

    Still, pictures of your own family are priceless possessions. My only regret being that I should have taken more. Now they’re all grown up, it’s hard to remember what it was like when they were small enough to be cradled in my arm.

    I’ve been looking at the private pictures of family and friends I took forty years ago. No one else would understand what is so fascinating with these images. Like this one: http://www.rchrd.com/photo/archives/2007/12/wait_stony_poin.html

    What I’ve learned is that the pictures you take of your own family and friends are the most valuable pictures you will ever take.

    Mr Photo Editor, thanks for the blog. It’s been a joy to read and to learn from. Nice to know there is some sanity out there.

    Happy Holidays, photographers.

  21. I love you for saying so, when that happens we will have all died and gone to heaven.
    Here’s to a GREAT Holiday and Wonderful New Year for Everyone!!!

  22. Thanks Photo Editor, and thanks for all the work you’ve put into this, and all the support you’ve given photographers throughout the year. You’ve become a force…on the good side.

    Happy Saturnalia.

  23. Dear PE,
    Thanks for a great year of posts. The future’s so bright we’ve got to wear shades.
    Best, ~Dr. Nobody

  24. I somehow stumbled onto this blog and just wanted to say how refreshing it was to read. I hope you have a wonderful new year with you family.


  25. “(editors always bemoan photos printed in the magazine never look as good as they did on the screen)”

    Then they need to study colour management, monitor calibration, and how to proof view profiles in Photoshop.