On the New York Times’ Homepage today they have a headline Reader’s Photos Picturing the Recession. They have photo galleries filled with images taken on peoples digital cameras and sent in, there is even a place to upload your own. This isn’t the first one of these send us your own photos things I’ve seen. A couple of different new sources have had them, this all comes on the wave of citizen journalism I guess. And it makes me sad.
In the great depression, photographers like Dorothea Lang and Walker Evans and Gordon Parks were paid to document what was happening in America. Their photographs were moving works of art that spoke to much more than what a snapshot can accomplish. And did I say they got paid? Yes, right I did.
Having an open place for participation, though exciting at first, leads to a dismissal of the artist. I know this is an issue with journalism as coveted spots and, on tv, time get taken up people who are submitting for free. But the more it happens it seems to discredit those who want to do the work. If we can all do it for free why pay anyone?
Maybe we should stop submitting to these things. Maybe there should be equal pay for anyone willing to put something in the public eye. Maybe we should heighten photography again to an art form not just within gallery walls. Maybe we should let the journalists do their jobs. People who are trained and paid will do it better.
Anyway, just a little rant for the morning.