Cypress College, a city college responsible for turning out some great photographic talent, hosted a photo fair on April 9, 2010.
There were many informative lectures to take advantage of. As you can imagine, the hot topic was motion capture with still cameras. This new technology is revolutionizing the medium. Vincent Laforet was the keynote speaker, and he drove home the importance of photographers to learn fusion. Fusion is the new term given to the practice of combining still photography with moving images, including sound.
Laforet presented his short movies captured on a Canon 5D Mark II. His first attempt, Reverie, with the aid of a good editor, and a $5,000 budget, is impressive. Laforet has proven the 5D Mark II is a respectable tool to make a short film.
What I found most interesting was his throw out comments on the state of the photography industry. Listen up.
Still photography for commercial work is dead. How did Laforet come to this conclusion? He was one of only eight photographers in the world asked to photograph Obama’s inauguration. Time Magazine gave him the assignment, but there was a catch. They could pay his day rate, but didn’t have the budget for a hotel room. At that moment, Laforet realized the business models for magazine, television, and advertising were no longer viable. He knew he must find different direction.
Another wake up call was that advertising clients wanted photographers who can shoot fusion. Corporate reports use to be bread and butter for still photographers. Now, that market has dried up, and the stream has moved to fusion as well. The reason? Corporations are feeling the pressure to go green. In addition, a corporation can show the emotion and dedication of an employee much better with video interview than with a stiff shirt-and-tie headshot.
Laforet showed highlights from his days as a sports photographer, his aerial images, and the new movies he has produced. When asked what he ultimately wants to do with his career, he indicated he’d like to make a full length feature film in the distant future.
Now, you may be thinking, I should go to film school. Hold up a second. Let’s think about this. If the advances in photographic technology have made it almost impossible to make a living as a still photographer, won’t the advances in fusion cameras do the same? We are in the genesis of these cameras. The technology will advance as fast as digital has. The fact that Vincent Laforet, with no training in making a movie, can produce a good film, and travel the country showing us how to do it, is tip off. In the past, we would expect to see an expert filmmaker doing these lectures. Not so today. I hear people talking about saving the mega tuition and attending some crash course workshops instead. You can be making a movie in a few months.
So how to wrap up this dismal blog? I believe opportunity arises out of change and chaos. Look for the cracks that have not been filled, and find a way to patch them up with your unique style. Ask yourself these questions. What type of photography do I like to do? What makes my photography different from everyone else’s? How can I interpret it with the new tools available? Grab the initiative and create a space for yourself in the new photo industry.
Now I must sign off and get to work on my fresh idea.