This Sunday I spent my day off working on my mothers vacation house that has been in the family since the 1820s. Being an house that is almost 200 years old, there is a lot of old stuff there. So while taking a break I started flipping trough some really old photo albums, and was just drawn into these amazing portraits. Some taken in the US of relatives immigrating, but most taken here in Bodø by local photographers.
The craftsmanship of the photographer is so impressive. The lighting was perfect, the focus was spot on and the poses were shockingly good – you have to keep in mind that every person was a fisherman or a farmer – but they nearly looked like superstars. In fact I would dare to say that these portraits are better than most images shot today.
That made me reflect on how photography as a profession have a declining status amongst most people out there. Sure, you can blame parts of it on many people running around calling themselves photographers while knowing next to nothing. But man were these photographers from back in the days meticulous. Nothing left to chance. No way to check the focus on the screen. And not to mention that most images was a one shot chance.
Oliviero Toscani said it so well; simple is no problem, easy is bullshit. Meaning that you don’t have to make fireworks to create a stunning image, but you can’t run around cutting corners and expect it to be something wonderful.
And that is really something for every photographer to remember. A customer walks in with clothes that is terrible for the shot, tell him to go change. Money is good and the customers are easily satisfied, be hard to yourself instead. Parents want hundreds of shots of their child to choose from, tell them quality and craftsmanship don’t function in mass production.
Train well and take pride in your work. Make your next image, your best image. And don’t expect respect before you do.