1. tanger32au
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    tanger32au Member

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    Is writing the new photography?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by tanger32au, Nov 5, 2012.

    For quite a few years I was involved in the photography hobby. When I first started it was just around the time that digital SLR cameras were at a price point where people could afford them. This in part lead to quite a few people taking up this either as hobby or a business that may not have even 5 or 10 years ago.

    I was a very active member of a large photography forum and during my time on this forum it was quite common for somebody to join up and then in a short period of time want to make this hobby in to a business. Most of these people were middle aged women who took some photos (normally of kids) and then showed them to family and friends, they would get some good feedback on them and think they could make a living from it. This to some extent devalues photography as a medium if a lot of people are doing it. This is not an attack on those people but more an observation.
    I have heard that this is starting to die down a bit and people are now looking for the next “big thing”, could writing be it?

    An area where I have seen this happening in the photography hobby is with how people are placing having good / expensive equipment above developing skills. Give me a $100 point and shoot camera and I can almost promise I will produce better photos then somebody less skilled with a $5000 professional digital SLR camera. We are lucky in writing that what we use to produce the result matters a lot less then the end result. In the photography hobby what brand of camera you use in some cases almost matters more than the end result, I doubt anybody cares if this was written on a Compaq laptop, an ASUS net book or an Apple iPad.

    Finally, if I spend a few hours out taking photos, come home and post some to a photography forum I will receive some feedback on ways to improve them. Some of this is post processing which can easily be changed while other feedback will be with regards to choice of location, time of day and the composition of the image. This can only be changed by going out and shooting the image again. If I post up a writing piece (like I did the other day) any suggestions or changes can easily be made and shared which benefits everybody. We all have the same equipment and locations to work with. I can write the same at 2am as I could at 2pm. Writing does not need any special equipment except pen and paper or a computer. At times I “write” in my head and put it down in hard form later on.

    Is writing the new photography? I don’t think so yet, but I can see this changing in the next couple of years. I think everybody has a story in them and more people will be writing for enjoyment in the future.
     
  2. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I don't understand what you're trying to say here.

    If anything, photography is the new writing... People have been writing ever since written language was devised, and have tried to capitalize on it since. I mean, just looking at the number of books that are published should tell you something. Lots of people write.

    To say that writing could become the next big thing is like saying that music is getting up there in popularity.
     
  3. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    No.

    As mentioned, photography is the new writing. I've been doing both for about 20 years and can tell you that any idiot with a computer or pen was wanting to write long before any idiot with a DSLR thought they could be a photographer. My favourite camera was a little Pentax p30 that I could literally fix with a leatherman if it failed or got damaged in the field. But now with digital it's much harder. Also, digital has taken a lot of the technical inhibitions away from the art and opened photography up to more and more creative people, allowing them to do amazing things, and I think that's a good thing.

    ebooks and self-publishing on the net has expanded on the problem for writing, but submissions have been hard since the 80s. The home PC revolution did the same for writing then as the digital camera has done now. Any idiot that thought they had an interesting story thought they could just simply write it down.

    Luckily both mediums still rely heavily on skill.
     
  4. Knarfia
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    Knarfia Member

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    I can't believe my response was deleted. Some people don't understand sarcasm, so I will spell this out this time around. You sound very bitter that middle aged women are showing you up, and it seems as if you feel women can't accept compliments without them going to their heads. Ugh.
     
  5. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I thought it was funny Knarfia. :)
     
  6. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    People love the idea of being able to make a quick success of themselves. That isn't new.

    How many hobby turned businesses did we see Lucy (of I Love Lucy or Ralph Cramden talk themselves into? (My favorite was when Lucy went on TV to sell her homemade salad dressing but didnt understand how to price her product so that she could turn a profit)

    I have never been a big photographer, but I did notice the surge of "professionals" when digital cameras became more affordable. I don't see your observation about middle aged women as anything other than an observation of the market. During the early 2000's I began receiving countless mailings from women who had opened their own studios which almost always specialized in children and pets. Some were good, some were not. Some remain open, most have closed. Just like any other business that opens, some people took it seriously and tried to develop their craft, others saw it as their easy break into self-employment. I witnessed a similar (ongoing) trend among middle aged men who like to barbecue at festivals on their weekends off. Photography, like writing is something that has relatively low startup costs and can be started from home.

    Around this same time, I also began noticing a lot of people taking a correspondence course in freelance writing (Penn Foster seemed to have a pretty popular thing going for this). It was everywhere I looked. I once stopped in a McDonalds circa 2003 and the three folks running the front counter were chatting about how they had all started taking the mail order writing course and hoped to be professional freelance writers within a year.

    So I'm not sure when the trend shifted. I think it possible (and likely) that there was some overlap in the two "next big things" around the early 2000's. Beaides cameras becoming affordable, this was also the first time PC prices started to dip drastically. My laptop cost me $2,000 in 1999 (it cost more because I opted for the whopping 64 MB of RAM with a 2GB HD!), but very soon after that, there was a drastic reduction in cost. I just bought a new laptop yesterday for a total cos of $500 (before the $50 mail in rebate, 6Ghrz, 750GB HD for comparison). Not only are computers cheaper, but we get a lot more computing power for a lot less money.

    That leads to people who didnt have the luxury of checking out hobbies via the Internet being exposed to new ideas and new communities. Not to mention, computers started coming with video and photo editing software standard. My 1999 PC came with Microsoft Paint. Now, my printer software includes a whole photo editing suite (not that it is professional grade, but it didnt cost me anything extra).

    While we're on the subject, remember around 2003-2005 when everyone seemed to be quitting their day job to flip houses? Here we saw a shift. It wasn't just house spouses (another interesting demographic shift, by the way) and retirees plainf around with hobby businesses anymore. Now seasoned professionals were buying houses and quitting their 9-5 the next day.

    So in conclusion, let me say that I think writing, photography, barbecue sauce and various other hobbies turned career have been in the rise. It doesn't cost anything but time to write. So, to take a shot at "making it" is a pretty low risk proposition. But I think these things are all part of a larger trend toward a (primarily American) desire to escape the confines of the corporate world and find more financial and professional autonomy. Some will achieve their goals, most will move on.
     
  7. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    This is an odd thought. It’s seems like we’re comparing apples to oranges. Though that’s tangential. Is writing the new hobby of choice? I’d say yes, given that it’s “easier” or seems easier to do, and is cheaper to boot, than photography.

    On top of that, it can make people feel important, as if they’re stretching for immortality. When my father knew that I was going into writing and pursuing a degree in Creative Writing, he started shooting ideas my way for a story about his life. I could never persuade him that, since he wasn’t a famous person or figurehead, that it’d be much easier and make for a better story to tell the same story with different characters, utilizing narrative theory to capture a reader; he was dead set on telling his story, to immortalize himself and his life in printed word.

    A lot of people kick the hobby off by writing in a diary, then coming to the “natural conclusion” that “their life is like a movie/drama”, and thus should be written creatively. They’ll make the jump to writing about their lives to writing creatively, with little to no interest to make it professional.

    I don’t see any harm in it, though I can understand how it’s become the new everyman’s hobby: it’s easy to do.
     
  8. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    i believe this is probably the best way to put it. Granted, Selbbin made a good point that writing was around first and that photography was the new writing. There are more peope turning to writing now than before because everyone has a story and nearly everyone has a computer. Photography had a massive boom, but just coming out of high school, I the number of people I knew who were considering writing [myself included] was larger than the number of photographers. Many of them changed their mind after a couple of hard critiques, but there has been a renewed interest in writing-- especially since there have been an increase in novels that don't have to be phenomenal to sell to a certain crowd [cough cough teens XD just kidding]. Self publishing has had a huge impact as well because now anyone with the money can make a book happen, they just have to sell it themselves. Since I don't plan to go professional [I'll see where the future takes me] I will probably consider self publishing here or there.

    In any regard it is fair to say that both are dependent on skill to be good, and there those in both fields who can recognize a novice from a mile away.
     
  9. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Photographs are pictures - pictures were etched in stone and drawn or painted long before the camera was invented.

    Pictures, depicting animals and the daily life of cave-dwellers are found painted onto the cave walls.

    Ancient Egyptians relayed stories through hieroglyphics long before the alphabet came into being.

    I was going to say that 'you could say that writing did take over from pictures' but, pictures haven't gone away, therefore there is a place for both and used together they can compliment each other and convey in, some cases, a more rounded story.
     
  10. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I agree 100%.

    The art of writing and drawing have always been there in one form or another, co-existing.

    When writing was first concieved, that obviously didn't stop people from drawing. In fact, it helped enhance it.
     
  11. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    That's not what the OP was talking about.
     
  12. will565
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    will565 Member

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    I don't think writing is like that. It can take months if not years to write a book and a great deal of people don't have the motivation to do this. With photography you can take a two hour workshop and know how to operate your camera. You get an instant feeling of satisfaction and it's much easier to show a photo to friends and family than it is to show them your 75,000 word draft. While it would be nice to see writing become the new photography I just don't think people will latch onto it. You either want to write or you don't.
     
  13. tanger32au
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    tanger32au Member

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    Thanks for the reply, yes that is a very true point.

    I have shown some people my writing but it is much easier to show a photograph.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Anyone could attend a twp=hour writing seminar and put together a short. Doesn't mean it will be good. The corresponding photograph could likewise be motion-blurred, poorly chosen depth of field, lost detail in the shadows from underexposure, and a weak composition.

    You've heard about the TV repairman who makes a house call? He stares at the TV for five minutes, then walks over and thumps it once with his fist. The picture stabilizes, the sound stops breaking up, and the colors are no longer washed out. The owner is delighetd and effusive with his thanks until the repairman hands him a bill for $160. The owner sputters indignantly, "But all you did was hit it one time with your fist!"

    The repairman nods and replies, "Yes. It's ten dollars fir the house call, and the thump is free. The hundred fifty is for knowing how and where to hit it."

    The expert photographer may take hours, even days, finding exactly the right location for the shot, then waiting for just the right light conditions, and for the one event to occur that turns a good picture into a great one. Similarly, the writer will consider the setting, the pace, and a hundred other factors to develop one scene of a couple hundred words. It takes years for both artists to develop their skills to that degree.

    I.m playing devil's advocate to some degree here. It does take more time to lay down the words for a story, compared to a moment to point the camera and release the shutter. Also, I'm ignoring fundamentals like spelling and grammar. Photography doesn't have a corresponding set of difficult fundamentals for the brand-new photographer. But they are both arts that take years to master for those few who actually succeed. They aren't as different as they appear at first blush.
     
  15. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    As they say 'a photograph can speak a thousand words' but it only captures a moment in time; it doesn't tell you what happens next nor does it explain how the people photographed are thinking or what makes them tick.

    Take a look through old photographs in antique shops; you'll be able to see and judge the times in which the people in the photos lived by the way they dress; late 19th century, the 1920s 1950s etc. but you will only be able to guess what their lives were really like, whereas if you come across someone's diary from a past era at least that will give you some insight to the the times in which they lived and to how they viewed the people and world around them.
     
  16. singphantom7
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    singphantom7 Banned

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    I think it is everyone's right to work at any art they would like. Whether they are a teenager or middle-aged male or female or transgender doesn't matter...the fact that cameras are easier to afford and more readily available is a good thing, and so is the boost in the forums! It's great to have beginners showing their work, getting honest feedback, and also seeing examples of real, passionate talant on the forums.

    Same thing with this or any writing forum. It's a great place to showcase your work and get honest feedback, whether it is your first time typing a fiction word or you've been doing it for years/decades. The e-book, which can be published for free in many places is also great. Sure, means there might be a lot of unreadable crap to plow through, but the real writer will have the motivation to get better, to get good editing, and to put a TON of work and effort into getting their story cleaned up and out there, at the best it can possibly be. It takes tenacity to write, and keep writer. The ones who are trying to pose or make a quick buck will eventually get lazy and give up.

    But kudos to anyone who wants to try. Good for them!
     
  17. kernel_panic
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    kernel_panic New Member

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    Nope.
     

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