For anyone not in the know, I actually possess a BA in Photography -- under the umbrella of my alma mater's Communications department and my minor was in Sociology with a heavy dose of Cultural Anthropology coursework, so my bent has always been towards more of a photojournalism or environmental portraiture style of capturing images on film...er...or on memory card, nowadays.
For a while I was doing some candid portraiture work, primarily weddings. I was just starting to see an uptick in my business about a year after I got it off the ground. Then the economy really tanked and the number of calls and e-mails I received exponentially dwindled to nothing. The fall of the economy only tells part of the story--now everyone has a friend or relative with a "fancy," high megapixel camera (I once had a guy tell me that he and his bride-to-be couldn't hire me for their wedding because my professional grade camera had fewer megapixels than their point-n-shoot camera...fer realz. Nevermind the fact that my lenses each cost more than his point-n-shoot and the lens is FAR more important than the # of megapixels in the final-product equation), so paid pros started falling by the wayside. It started with photographers simply selling the digital files outright to be able to offer a cheaper product -- but a product that took creative control of the final product out of their hands. It also removed the ability to work as an artisan paid appropriately for his/her skill, eye, and training. Those thousands of dollars invested in college tuition, equipment (2 of everything to guarantee no technical difficulties mid-wedding), insurance, marketing...none of that comes for free. I've talked to a couple of self-employed photographers who shuttered their own businesses in recent years. And a friend of mine recently left the studio she'd worked at for years (in their front office) -- their business was rapidly dwindling after decades in business. I had worked in their lab for a couple of years during college. Back in the mid-90s business was booming, but that was when film was still king.
Nowadays the "Photography" I do essentially amounts to funnin' with my cell phone. I really can't be bothered to drag my beefy DSLR around. Sure, quality suffers, I lose control over exposure and depth-of-field, and I can't make 20x30 enlargments, even with 8 megapixels (I could do this with my 6.3 megapixel Canon 10D), but I have the ease of uploading everything to iPhoto and/or Facebook and sharing with friends and family digitally. This is so much more ideal than print photography, because everyone is so far-flung nowadays.
The biggest downside with cell phone photography is the inability to do much post-processing. I miss the creativity of the darkroom, even if the darkroom is simply Photoshop. This is where programs like Instagram come in. I've tried similar apps, but I really never found them to yield results I liked as well. And I really like the forced square format. My eye has always liked the uniformity of square. I grew up during the Polaroid era, so casual snapshot documentation of every event was confined to that little square. It's a throwback that I'm really happy to see returning.
|Rapid in Grand Rapids, MI|
|Fast rolling on Grand Rapids, MI cobblestone|
|Duck Lake State Park, MI|
|Gravel road roller|
|Hubby kickin' ass on his now retired "CX" bike|
|My first Instagram "masterpiece"|
|I think this might be my favorite...|