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If we’re living a real life, we’ve gained the understanding that getting more doesn’t always lead to feeling happier. In an Instagram life, we’re instead focused on making it look like we have a better life than everyone else. But even as we take our own pictures and apply filters to our world, we’re flipping through other people’s photo streams and feeling envious about what we see. We ask, “Why isn’t that our life?” It’s a hard cycle to break because, as my friend pointed out, someone will always come along at some point and be better than you.

We’re now left in the most curious situation where not one, but two of the most frequently made claims about photography turn out to be, well, not true. As I explained elsewhere, if everything has indeed been photographed already (let’s pretend that’s the case), the dictatorship of novelty falls away, to open up opportunities for depth and discovery. And even though it is often stated that people mistrust photography, the actual opposite is true for most areas of photography. So our post-postmodern hand-wringing about the state of the medium seems oddly out of place. At least in theory this should be the best time for photography, not one where there’s an industry of people attending “Photography is Over” seminars.

Editing for tonight’s #conveyormag submission #alchemy

Editing for tonight’s #conveyormag submission #alchemy

In the popular imagination, artists tend to exist either at the pinnacle of fame and luxury or in the depths of penury and obscurity — rarely in the middle, where most of the rest of us toil and dream. They are subject to admiration, envy, resentment and contempt, but it is odd how seldom their efforts are understood as work. Yes, it’s taken for granted that creating is hard, but also that it’s somehow fundamentally unserious. Schoolchildren may be encouraged (at least rhetorically) to pursue their passions and cultivate their talents, but as they grow up, they are warned away from artistic careers. This attitude, always an annoyance, is becoming a danger to the health of creativity itself. It may seem strange to say so, since we live at a time of cultural abundance and flowering amateurism, when the tools of creativity seem to be available to anyone with a laptop. But the elevation of the amateur over the professional trivializes artistic accomplishment and helps to undermine the already precarious living standards that artists have been able to enjoy.

Young practitioners now are expected to be good at verbalising their intentions, verbalising their results, self-promotion and networking etc. I think these lists are getting a little out of hand as they often highlight the opposite of what led me to photography in the first place. They often appear to be steered by few, friends of friends, publishers, authors, writers etc and perhaps this back scratching can lead to exclusion of many who make work who can’t or don’t want to ‘play the game’.

Stephen Gill for Photobook Bristol (via shanolyno)

(via absurdstreets)

5x4 shots are coming in slowly, summer show here we come!

5x4 shots are coming in slowly, summer show here we come!