Picture This

It’s been a while since I’ve done a photo post and since conditions have not been the greatest for taking pictures of late, I’ve been spending much more time looking through my archives. I’m not an astoundingly talented photographer and it’s something I would never consider pursuing as a career but I enjoy the process, the experience, the results, even if they are mostly for myself.

There are sea changes happening in the world of photography, just as there are in print journalism. There’s an increasing reliance on licensing stock photography, for instance, rather than paying photojournalists, and it is increasingly difficult for people to make photography careers happen. Photojournalism seems to be an undervalued career in a lot of eyes even though it’s brought us some of the most powerful and effective news stories. I worry for photographer friends and their future and I am concerned about the future of the industry as a whole because just as there is a place for professional writers, there is also one for professional photographers, a hole that cannot be filled by relying on amateurs pathetically grateful to have their work publicised or by stock photographers producing generic images.

Photography as art form appears to still be going strong, with lots of great photography happening in the art world, but what are we going to lose when photojournalism is no longer valued? In its own way, it is also an art form, communicating ideas and information, and it’s something people may not miss until it’s gone.

But, today, it’s amateur hour:

Budding In Orange: A thorny evergreen with tiny orange buds

This photo is oddly popular on my Flickr. I do like it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m kind of astounded by how into it people seem to be. It’s a pretty generic picture of a blooming plant; there’s nothing particularly remarkable about the composition or focus, nothing overly compelling about it. Unless there’s something I am just not seeing here.

Hoops, Large and Small: Netted hoops for fishing leaning against a weathered wooden wall

Now this, I like. I like the different sizes and the textures and the small details. This is the kind of photo that I bought a digital SLR for, to be able to capture this level of focus and detail. I could have gotten close with my point and shoot but this was, well, a lot easier.

Barking up the Wrong Tree: A eucalyptus tree with peeling bark, half in shadow and half in light

I adore eucalyptus. When you get up close all the colours just explode and you start seeing blues and greens and purples and creams, even though from a distance it looks dull and grey. I know it’s invasive and there are definitely problems with introduced eucalyptus crowding out native species, but looking at it up close and personal, I can see why people introduced it. Even though they shouldn’t have.

Pole, West Street: A power pole against a very bright blue sky

I have sort of a thing for poles, especially the small tags on them and the old staples from fliers and things. I can’t quite explain it. I think they’re a sort of microcosm. People ignore them because they’re so ubiquitous when really they’re so rich with texture and visual interest! If I was ever going to have a photography show, it would be a pole show. They are an archaeological record of sorts of community events and histories.

Lichen!: Bright orange lichen on a grey headstone

Another thing I am obsessed with: lichen. I suspect some of this is due to the fact that I took a lichen identification elective in college and so started noticing it more, but it’s also because it’s interesting stuff. I love looking at lichen colonies and seeing how it shifts in response to the environment. Graveyards are a terrific place for lichen because you can see which species grow on different kinds of stone. I know some people like to scrub it off to make headstones all pretty, but if I ever have a headstone, I want people to let the lichen grow freely. Life is everywhere, even in death.