A Lesser Photographer

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Leaving Tumblr

A Lesser Photographer will make the transition away from Tumblr next week to a new site that’s infinitely easier to read, easier to search, easier to…everything. Plus, it won’t disappear whenever the web hiccups.

If you subscribe to this site through Tumblr, you should sign up for the newsletter to know when the transition has occurred or subscribe to the site’s new Twitter feed (@alesserphotog).

For everyone else, not much should change…the site will still be located at ALesserPhotographer.com and all current links will forward to their new locations.

See you all on the other side! 

Winter is the Best Season for Color Photography

Like a lot of long-time photographers, I adore black and white photography. There’s a reason it’s embraced by those with the most experience and used as a training tool for those with the least experience. It strips away distraction and gets to the heart of what matters. It reveals pattern, texture and luminosity in a scene that the human eye is distracted from with the addition of color.

However, there’s one time of year when all of those things CAN be present in color photography as well: winter. Consider this the next time you see a photographer friend pack up their equipment to wait for life to return the landscape. Photographic life never leaves the landscape.

"The official notice came Tuesday when a lower court judge granted a permanent injunction to the ACLU, allowing them to record cops in public without getting arrested, ending a two-year legal battle in which a stubborn state attorney did all she could to keep the law alive, a felony which could have sent citizens to prison for 15 years."

That was the most egregious law of it’s kind in the US, but photographers are still treated as potential terrorism suspects by the Department of Homeland Security. Worldwide, it’s still a very bleak situation. This, however, is progress.

"When your subject comes to realise that you genuinely appreciate their time and want to make sure they too have something to show for the experience you’ve had together, they are far more willing to open up. That 5 minutes you would have had with someone becomes 30 minutes, or becomes a conversation about their family, where they grew up, etc. And the photos generally reflect that."

Tom pays attention to storytelling and that makes him immediately more interesting than the majority of photographers.

Instagram Kills Itself

Own your creations. Social networks want them for a reason.

You may decide someday to give away the rights to your photos to help an idea spread faster. You may decide someday to sell your rights to the highest bidder. But it should always remain your decision.

Today, photographers were in an uproar because Instagram updated its terms of service, as noted in the New York Times blog:

"A section of the new terms of service, titled ‘Rights,’ notes that Instagram will also be able to use your photographs and identity in advertisements. ‘You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you,’ the new terms say. This means that photographs uploaded to Instagram could end up in an advertisement on the service or on Facebook. In addition, someone who doesn’t use Instagram could end up in an advertisement if they have their photograph snapped and shared on the service by a friend. Facebook already runs ads that make use of people’s activity on its site."

This should surprise no one. Social networks are not built for you. They’re built for advertisers or buyers. Instagram just shifted from serving potential buyers to serving the advertiser. You’re still not invited to party.

As for Facebook…here’s one of my favorite guides to your rights on Facebook from IBM’s Social Media Expert Luis Suarez:

“Facebook does not allow me to own my content. That’s not debatable.”

No amount of technology will turn a mediocre photographer into a great one. Nor, in conceptual terms, will it transform a bad idea into a good one. For that you would still need to possess a rare set of creative gifts that are still to do with seeing, with deep looking.

Sean O’Hagan - (via A Photo Editor)

Everyone knows this. But buying is always easier than learning. This is what will keep the readers of this site unique.

2012 Gift Guide for Photographers

Let’s not be naive about what most photographers really want. They want stuff. If they already have stuff, they want more stuff or better stuff. There are plenty of annoying gift guides out there this week for those photographers.

Here’s an honest guide of what to get the lesser photographer in your life, without a single affiliate link:

  • Education: workshops and local classes (especially at community colleges) can up a photographer’s game beyond the fastest of new lenses.
  • Travel: this adds experience and opportunity to a photographer’s toolkit.
  • Books: this is a little trickier. Be discerning. Seek out the masters. Avoid the advice on how to make money.
  • Time: volunteer to do some errands or babysit, so the photographer in your life can go out and shoot more.