Ten years ago, if I'd offered to wager a dollar that Blockbuster Video would be struggling now, heck, even five years ago, I'd have had a line of people willing to take my "easy bet". Yet today, against innovators like Netflix, iTunes, and so forth, the concept of going to the video store to get a movie, and then paying late fees, seems antiquated and just silly.
Titans of industry - Pan Am, IBM, and Kodak, are but a shadow of their former selves, or gone. I had to chuckle at the repeated presence of Kodak and Fuji hawking film at this past year's PhotoPlus Expo. They're rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
What of previously "hot" photographers? One I recall in particular was photographer Aaron Jones, aka The Hosemaster.
Aaron invented an amazing device that allows you to paint with light. After selling it for $6k and up for some time, he sold it to Calumet. Now, I don't know where Aaron is right now, but he's certainly not stayed at the peak he once was, nor anything resembling it. For all I know, he's making a great living doing something else, or shooting magazine work somewhere in the midwest. the point is - he's not repeated his former success as the toast of the town.
I recall a time when the legendary Eddie Adams sought out professional counsel to get his work "rediscovered" by young twenty-somethings who'd never heard of him. The consultant and I discussed the challenges she faced, and how she was able to get people to find him and his talent once again.
Recently, it came to my attention that a highly notable photographer wasn't aware of who Jay Maisel is. The literal master of color who blew people away with his surreal chromes hadn't been a known quantity to someone I consider a major figure in today's photographic community.
Why is this?
Look to current lighting guru Michael Grecco. This Los Angeles photographer is reinventing himself with his new book Naked Ambition: An R-rated Look at an X-rated Industry.
Grecco is taking his considerable talents and turning them onto a subject that doesn't get a great deal of attention in "learn-ed" photography circles. I picked up a copy during one of his talks, and, while it's NSFW, it's certainly a fresh perspective done with style and class.
He's even got a documentary video project to accompany it, and is traveling around the country to discuss his work, both from the past, and this current project. If it comes to your town, make it a point to check it out.
On another note, and arguably on the other end of the spectrum, is Jim LoScalzo's book -Evidence of My Existence that I wrote about back in June (" Go Jimmy Lo", 6/27/07), and is now available. (Check the link from June for some amazing videos that are essentially a prologue to the book).
In it, Jim takes another look at his life, and makes changes that are more geared towards a new family lifestyle, and evolves himself to that end.
Evolving, changing, is not about evolving to survive, per se, or evolving to succeed. Instead, it's about evolving to a place in your life that is what you want, and how you want it.
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