Yesterday I watched one of my favorite internet shows, The Grid Live. The episode was titled The State of the Union (to coincide with the POTUS‘s speech.) The topic Scott and Matt chew over is the ever present notion that Photography, as a business, is dying.
A notion who’s roots are based in the reality that there are ginormous amounts of people buying DLSR’s and calling themselves photographers. This floods the market with suppliers diluting the “Professional Pool”.
Add to that every Tomasina, Ricki and Harriet have camera cell phones, point & shoots, Instagram accounts–and all of a sudden, who needs a pro?!
Demand is dwindling!!! Nay! Disappearing!!!!!! *GASP*
My take on market saturation & Why Its Bad:
There are way more people in this world than there used to be, many vying for the same jobs. It’s just the reality of our time. Over population.
Why It’s Good:
There is a story about one of FDR’s speechwriters. This young writer pens his first speech and turns it in to the President. Later he comes back and the president says “Go back and redo it, I know you can do better”. He takes it back, pours over it and rewrites it and turns it back in. Same thing. “You can do better!” This happens three more times until finally the young speech writer says “That is absolutely the best I can do sir!” to which FDR replies, “Okay. Then I will read it”.
Okay, the end has nothing to do with anything but it’s funny. BUT! The idea is we are capable of amazing things when a person or people push us out of our Comfort Zone into our Discomfort Zone. That’s where the magic happens.
What if a car company said when the others came up with some crazy, new fangled invention “The other guys came up with some awesome new idea and we can’t think of anything better than that and they will get all the sales and we are going to go out of business so we should just give up now.” (Sound familiar?)
What do they do smart ones do? Create a team! Surround themselves with great people who come up with something better or a twist on that good idea. Yes, there are the car companies that are just going to copycat but my point is that they DON’T GIVE UP! Sure at first they might sit in the corner and may lick their wounds for a little bit. We all do that. But they pick themselves up by their bootstraps and get to work being creative.
Life (read as: other humans) has taught us not to dream as big. Like the elephant at the circus who was trained that it can only go to the end of a very, strong chain. After a while the chain can be replaced by a thin rope. The elephant believes it can only go so far.
Progress forces you to rethink your beliefs about your abilities. It’s like a stampede of cowboys running up behind that elephant and yelling “HIYA!! HIYA!!” until the poor things moves beyond it’s perceptual cage, scared out of it’s wits.
One only can hope that once it’s been free long enough it realizes “HEY!! I’M FREE!!!”
I could go on, but my take? Progress makes us evolve. It’s helps us reach heights far beyond our wildest imagination of what we are capable of.
And when all else fails and I see the flood plains in front of me brimming with thousands of fabulous photographers, I remind myself that they are doing what they love and I should only worry about what I’m doing. And then I go back to improving myself (i.e. checking Facebook).