Sunday, November 29, 2009

POV: The Old Boys Club Crumbled

Paul Melcher is his blog Thoughts of A Bohemian has penned an interesting and provocative post on the Black Star Rising blog, and one that I am in full agreement with.

Paul Melcher's premise is best summarized by this quote from the post:
"Once upon a time, cameras, processing, access and distribution were the privilege of the few in photography. The business was an Old Boys Club with high barriers to entry. But now, anyone can join."

Actually, the walls surrounding the Old Boys club have crumbled like the Berlin Wall in 1989.

I've taught at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshops in Mexico City and in Manali (India) in 2008 and 2009, and I was struck at how few "Old Boys" there were. The preponderance of attendees and instructors were outside of the so-called "inner circle". Young talented photographers from Latin and Central America, and more from South Asia and South Eastern Asia that I ever thought existed, joined these workshops and demonstrated fresh outlooks to photography and the creativity to break rules, taboos and barriers.

And as Melcher says, it's all about your Point Of View. So forget infantile tribalism masquerading as networking...stop wasting time on Tweeter and Facebook...forget trying to cannibalize other photographers' ideas, projects (and yes, even photo itineraries)...and develop your own vision...your own POV...your own sphere of creativity...ignore the dying throes of the old and go take some photographs instead.

With The Travel Photographer blog, along with many others, introducing the work of talented emerging photographers to tangible new opportunities as it has, and will continue to do, the walls of the "Old Boys" club have indeed crumbled to dust. Good riddance!

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