As a member of the photographic community, I am often exposed to the “hobbyists are ruining the photographic market” argument. Yes, the influx of cheap digital cameras and, in fact, the switch to digital itself, has made the medium more accessible to a wider group, but ruining it?
Modern technology has played a pivotal role in the “democratisation” of many aspects of society. It has put within reach any number of options that two decades ago would have been unimaginable. This has led to much consternation and moaning from various quarters.
Effectively, it goes along the lines that all this technology is making it impossible for the professionals to earn a living and that these professions are being swamped by amateurs.
You want to shoot photos? Everything from a smartphone up the food chain will do a fantastic job. Video, that’s arguably as easy or even easier considering the amount of hardware needed previously. With built-in stabilisers and all manner of apps there’s a level of professionalism possible that would have required a small fortune in equipment on the part of videographers – if it was even possible outside of a Hollywood studio.
For writers wanting to be published, there are a bewildering array of platforms for the content. Your own radio show is equally accessible and there are a variety of options from podcasts to full-blown online audio stations.
Even education is going the same way. While earning a recognised degree might not quite be mainstream yet (the pandemic sure is accelerating this change) but online education might soon be as normal and accepted as studying in a classroom.
All of these forms of media and any number of choices for networking, socialising, sharing and creating are available online – and these options are creating waves and the responding ripples throughout a multitude of industries.
Authors don’t need publishers to get readers, artists don’t need galleries to show off their work. Performers don’t need theatres or clubs to find an audience and videographers don’t need studios or cinemas to distribute and show their movies.
Here’s the question to ask though, if this technology and opportunity is open and available to everyone with a smartphone or better, then why do we have (statistically speaking) so few people doing anything with it?
It is no longer about the opportunity, nor even the ability as this is easily learned. Now it is about the motivation, the interest in being a creator rather than a consumer. All you really need now is to have a story to tell.
Have you thought about your story, what you want to share with the world? We have the technology, the only thing holding you back now … is you.
On a final note, it was today (21 September) back in 1937 that author JRR Tolkien’s book “The Hobbit” was published for the first time. This first printing was undertaken by George Allen and Unwin in London. Tolkien is well-known not just for The Hobbit but also for the Lord of the Rings trilogy that most recently were turned into movies by director Peter Jackson.