There was a post by colleague, and great photographer, Dick Waterman. Besides being responsible for managing and preserving the work of some of the most important blues artists in musical history, Dick’s work photographing and chronicling the early days of the folks and blues revival in the 1960’s has produced many an iconic image. In Dick’s post he commented on how he was at a folk festival, selling works of his, (images the like of Bob Dylan and others) at a fair market price, when he passed another display of someone’s Instagram photos selling at $15. How could he compete with that he lamented? Well, you can’t. And maybe that’s just OK. Because the truth is, the advent of making the art of photography as simple as a click on the cell phone is really ushering in a new paradigm. We are all citizen artists.
The advent of social media ushered in the term citizen journalists. We all became empowered to instantly contribute to the information feed. And now it has become part of the mainstream. But where all can contribute, in time only the best rises to the forefront. But that fact that we all contribute is what defines the shift.
And now it applies to the arts. I am a great believer that inside all of us is an artist wanting to emerge. But for so many, the right outlet never presented itself. But perhaps with the exception of photography. While every one of us might not have ever written a short story, composed a song or painted a landscape, we’ve all taken a photo. And at some point, we sought to take a creative one. Admit it. And now it’s with us everywhere we go, in our cell phone. That’s great. Go ahead, take your photos, embrace your inner artist. Celebrate your desire to be creative.
It’s OK Dick, the more we create, the more we learn to appreciate the great work of others and the more the great work will rise to the top. And perhaps from this a movement of appreciating art is emerging, as the arts in schools and in public places seem to struggle to survive. Who knew? Maybe, just maybe, God likes a good photograph.