Can anyone these days be a photographer? This question crossed my mind as I left a photography exhibit in Dubai. "Sacred Sight" at The Empty Quarter gallery in the Dubai Financial Center was great. It focussed on photos of India that were taken by several big names in photography. Most of the photos seemed to be from the 1960s or 1970s. A few were newer, but the majority were taken at a time when digital was non-existent.
So looking at this now with the start of my new photography education, I think hmmm. Despite the fact that taking images with film was truly an art - and now a lost one - I think one reason why photography used to be so awe inspiring is that other countries and remote areas used to be so unaccessible.
Now people are much more travelled than before and even if you don't travel, you can see thousands of images on the internet. Additionally, digital technology and photo editing is truly amazing and produces amazing results for even the most unseasoned photographers. As a result, I feel like today's similar images of places, people and culture have lost their "specialness" or "je ne sais quoi" in today's world. In the 1970s it was a very magical, mystical thing. Today they are just so accessible.
So as I embark on this new hobby, I am somewhat sad that I did not start it sooner. Firstly, to better document the places I've been so very fortunate to live and visit. And also, while some friends insist the pictures are great, if it wasn't for the technology and the ease of access to travel and people and places I would not have these outcomes. For this I am most sad because I feel like in many ways I am cheating...a true photographer would be a master of film. Something I will likely not ever be because with the exception of those few die hards, it is near obsolete.