I’ve been reflecting a bit more on that last post but one (and the comments it prompted) in which I expressed little sympathy for those pro photogs who are bemoaning the imminent loss of (or substantial reduction in) their livelihood courtesy of the proliferation and popularity of digital cameras.
And it occurs to me that maybe I was a wee bit harsh on them, focussing almost exclusively on their concerns about their loss of future income, and not seeking to delve deeper.
In fairness to myself, that particular complaint is the one that I’ve encountered most frequently so its not unreasonable that I should have homed in on it.
However, after giving it more thought I suspect that the words I’m hearing may not be the whole story.
I’m thinking now not exclusively of pro photographers but of human nature in general.
We tend to be creatures of habit. Of set routines. Such habits and routines, especially when adhered to for a long time, seem to generate a sense of permanence and security. Upon which we begin to depend and from which we take comfort, being lulled into assuming that things will carry on forever just as they are.
That such “security” is completely illusory is entirely irrelevant for we seldom take that into account. Even though, rationally, perhaps we should.
Moreover, I’m guessing that few of us like or welcome forced change, unless it be changing from a bad situation to a not-so-bad one.
And when such change is forced upon us (by whatever means) rather than being voluntarily sought, it will almost certainly (and unsurprisingly) be met by resentment and complaint… all too often outer symptoms of inner stress. And met sometimes even by depression, or worse.
(Of course, the other side of the coin is that when we find ourselves in truly bad situations then we are eager for, indeed practically pray for, change. Any change. Which seldom seems to occur as rapidly as we would wish. How perverse is that?)
Further, when such forced change impacts those things that we customarily perceive as fundamental to our existence (things such as our health, our family, our home, or our livelihood) then its not unreasonable for us to react negatively. Extremely negatively.
So maybe, when pro photogs are wailing about the state of the industry, about being undercut, and about all those damned “amateurs”, perhaps we’re hearing a lot more than purely mercenary gripes, even though the actual words aren’t uttered.
Maybe what we’re really hearing is the anguished cry of insecurity, elicited once again by the uncertainty that underlies all existence. Uncertainty that, I suspect, an increasing number are unable to live with comfortably in this materialistic society of ours. Hence the insecurity. Hence also (touching briefly upon another subject entirely) the thriving of the insurance industry that profits from playing to our fears.
That photographers, many of whom spend much of their time literally recording fleeting moments for posterity and thus (one would have thought) should be more conscious than most of impermanency and ephemerality, react as others should come as no surprise. After all, they’re humans too!
(Well, most of them! 😉 )
In which case, perhaps I need to be a bit more tolerant of all the moaning that I’d casually dismissed as either selfishness, lack of commercial foresight, or lack of the will to adapt.