As I was pondering my post for today, the Colbert Show was on, and I was doing some paperwork review. One of the guests on the show was Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur: How today's Internet is killing our culture, and I paused and watched. In fact, I was so intrigued, I hit the "record" on my Tivo, and watched the interview several times. Here are some quotes from their exchange:
Andrew Keen: "The internet is destroying our culture.."I encourage you to get the book. While I don't believe the book will change the swelling tide, what it will do is give you insights into the new frontier, and how you can adapt to it.
Stephen Colbert: "....I can go on any old web site and find pictures of any old art I want…"
AK: "That’s stealing culture...The problem with the internet is it is making it increasingly difficult for artists to earn a living because everyone is stealing."
SC: "You’re just an elitist...Here’s my problem. You say the internet is just for amateurs, and that the amateurs don’t actually create great culture."
AK: How do you pay your rent?
SC: I get paid by the advertisters who give the money to the network who give the money to me.
AK: I think you’re supporting my argument....The fact is, you are a professional artist making money through the sale of advertising, on television...On the internet though, people are stealing your content. They’re putting it on YouTube. They’re undermining you as a creatve artist."
SC: "Right, and my parent company Viacom is sueing YouTube for a billion bucks, and I am sure I am getting acut of it."
AK: "Are you in support of that lawsuit?"
SC: "Oh absolutely, Go get ‘em guys."
Evolve or die. Differentiate yourself or perish. Being a professional photographer is not for the weak of heart or diminished drive. A friend in Baltimore sent me a few interesting Flickr links, which I delved deeper into:
A listing of all Nikon D2x users on Flickr shows an upward trend this past year of this $4500 camera:
With almost 8,000 images uploaded just yesterday. Their full Nikon chart can be seen here.
For Canon, all 1Ds Mark II cameras also shows an upwards trent this past year of this $7,000 camera:
With over 5,000 images uploaded just yesterday. Their full Canon chart can be seen at here.
These insights are not meant to scare you, but rather, to be enlightening. Reporting this isn't going to somehow reduce the number of amateurs giving their work away for free using $10,000+ in camera equipment. Reading the book will help you understand the inside machinations of what's happening, and why. When you know how and why it's happening, you can then better understand how to develop your own roadmap of your career in photography. As a byproduct of this, It can also help you to better understand the mind of those amateurs, and how you could engage those most effectively when the opportunity arises, and, perhaps, in your community, school them how they are contributing to the decline of the creative products of professionals.
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