Stationary Mindset. Moving Target.

Let's see... This week I've been taken to task for not still using the 12 megapixel Olympus EP-2 in my regular, commercial workflow, for buying cameras with optical viewfinders, for buying a full frame camera and for writing too much about video. I don't know what to say except that times change, progress slithers onward and people in changing situations can make different choices.

I suspect everyone in my age cohort would have been much happier overall if everyone was still shooting medium format black and white film and making delicious prints, in happy solitude, in the darkroom. But I suspect a lot of that longing is misplaced and the delirious pleasures mis-remembered.

Culture and society, and culture and society's tastes are moving targets and so is technical advancement. I'm more and more interested in video from a commercial sense out of an instinct for commercial survival. Last year video sharing increased on Facebook by nearly 80% over the year before. Of the four bigger websites I shot images for last year three have video components in them while two have huge video across their splash pages. Here's an example: http://www.aurea.com/index.html

And here's the page where they used our portrait images: http://www.aurea.com/about-aurea/leadership  If you mouse over any of the portraits they transform to color (I think it's neato and someone had to program that as well).

And here's a typical use where a client has embedded a video I produced for them into a website that we have also provided extensive still images for: http://www.salientsys.com/products/pos-transaction-tracker/

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that we content creators who used to call ourselves photographers are no longer in a binary world where a wall exists between still imaging and motion products. Our clients more and more want both and the learning curves are about equal on either side of the process divide. I can learn to do and sell video well and then I get to keep both sides of the content product creation. It's easier for a client to deal with one supplier, one lighting style and one creative vision than a mix. Having both halves of a project is a greater overall incentive for the artist than having just one or the other. And it is inarguably better for the bottom line.

I've said it many times, there are no longer any barriers. I can go after web video and video production companies can and are going after the total package, including photography, as well. It's a contest of making the best overall selling proposition to the final client rather than futilely sticking to your guns and remaining (still photographically) pure. 

I'm guessing that the pushback I am getting from some readers is due to the heterogenous nature of my audience. Many here are long term photo enthusiasts who have no interest in video while a good number here are working professional photographers; some who have embraced the idea that motion will become part of their mix and some who are still locked in an emotional battle with themselves over whether or not to accept it and whether or not the transition is really even inevitable.

I can't really answer that for anyone except myself. I have the luxury and the burden of having a number of technology clients. They are good clients but the nature of their businesses drives them to demand a different mix of media and engagement with their clients. And to be technologically au courant.  It seems that 2015 is the year that all of them embrace richly mixed multi-media content in all of their various outreaches and communications with clients, customers and prospective markets. I am learning quickly to understand and satisfy the needs of the clients as they relate to video and I think failing to do so will change the landscape of my business.

For better or worse you are along for the ride here because I can only write about what I know.

And I know that the next ten years of imaging will be driven by a mix of still images and video and that for most clients the bulk of both will come from single points of supply. It's part of our job (and our responsibility to our imaginary stockholders) to make sure that we get a decent slice of that pie.

I re-evaluate the tools I use all the time. If they work I use them, regardless of whether they have EVFs (which I much prefer) or OVFs (which I have good experience using well for over 27 years...). What I'm looking for are the production tools that get the jobs I anticipate doing in the next few month done well, and the ones that make me happy to use them. Sometimes the two curves don't always line up.

Side note. The image above was shot with a Rokinon 14mm Cine lens on a Nikon D7100 making it, effectively, a 21mm lens on the DX sensor. It required a +11 setting for the lens's inherent distortion. I like the intersecting diagonals and the color palette in the image.


Wayne Pearson said...

I like the mix of subjects you write about. It's your blog you get to write about what you want. You have something to say, not many people do.

MO said...

thumbs up!

paul said...

I'm curious to know if you provided both the BW and color versions of portraits for the site where mousing over shifts them to color. Specifically, would it bother you if someone else manipulated your images after you provided them, as would have been the case if your images were only color. There is no hidden agenda here about your rights, their rights etc, just curious how you did this.

Dave said...

I have the RX10 and A6000 sitting within arm's reach. The D7000 is boxed up and ready to head to a new home, so the multiple media message is what I'm looking for.

Kirk Tuck said...

Paul, I delivered very high quality (and very large) Tiff files that were in color. The ad agency (one which I have worked with for 15 years+) did all of the conversions to smaller files and the conversions to black and white. They are at least as good at post production as me and by them handling those kinds of details I stay out of meetings, phone conferences and additional approval chains. I am always happy to hand off work.

Anonymous said...

This is the internet and you run a photo blog. If you don't mind a link, this kind of covers it.


Kirk Tuck said...

Thanks for sending that along. It's funny and sad. Funny because it's right on target. Sad because it's right on target...

Forest, meet trees.

Dave Jenkins said...

Non carborundum illigitimi, Kirk. Your blog is free and no one is required to read it. Mostly I don't read your posts about video, but sometimes I do.

I spent the years from 1973 to 1990 producing about 200 slide-based audio-visuals, more than half of which I also wrote and photographed. It was a great time and took me all over the world. When that medium pretty much died around the end of '90, I went into video production and absolutely hated it, so I reinvented myself as a commercial photographer. Of course, that was in the days of analog video, and I might like it better now. But probably not. In any case, I'm 77, thankful to still be able to work, and my basic commitment is, and always has been, to still photography. It's the only thing that's really meaningful to me. So I won't be doing any video. If I were your age, maybe.

Anyway, I enjoy your blog. It's better than a subscription to any number of photo magazines.

Anonymous said...

Fuck em. Write whatever you want I'll read it.