Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mediocrity vs. Everybody Can

Haven't really ranted in a minute. Not for a lack of having things to rant about. But I guess it's true what they say about having regular sex; it gets that contentment hormone going and you can more readily let things slide.

There's a lot of stuff that REALLY pisses me off: fairweather friends; selfishness; people who are cruel to small children; anyone who threatens or hurts someone I love; folk who don't stretch themselves to learn or try something out of character; people who never say "I'm sorry"; blatant ignorance; intolerance; racist or ant-Semitic people; people who hate Muslims; the Right Wing; Obama-bashers; people who can't say "excuse me"... not because they didn't see you or it was an accident but because they're too much in a rush to stop; not having half and half in my coffee; white sugar; bad food when you're REALLY hungry; the fact that High Fructose Corn Syrup is in absolutely EVERYTHING; people who bitch about women who nurse in public and compare it urinating in public; men who urinate in public; men who don't get why they should pay child support; women who take advantage of child support; men who cheat on good women; women who won't leave useless men (and not abused women cuz that's a separate issue); people who assume that victims of DV are stupid or "want it" ; people who think "that could NEVER happen to me"; and the fact that our society is so technologically advanced that any idiot with a camera or a computer thinks they are a photographer or graphic designer.

And that last thing REALLY pisses me off because it affects my livelihood. Mediocrity has become the norm, is acceptable. Any idiot who goes out and buys a fancy camera and thinks that because they can zoom or take a sharp picture it makes them a photographer really annoys the shit out of me. I think I take pretty good pictures--OK, damn good pictures but I'm no Weegee or Ansel Adams or Henri. But I study those guys, or Sally Man or Diane Arbus or James Vanderzee. I try to visually listen to the images they took; the unspoken body language they captured, the tilt of a chin or the flash of an eye; a mood, an unsung song. A shadow. And know that for a lot of it, it wasn't planned or staged though some of it was. So what muse were they listening to when they caught the moment? When I take a picture I try to listen out, to wait for that moment that speaks. It's a joy when I catch it. Even if no one else likes the picture... if I have captured what I know to be the effervescence of that person or that moment, that joy stays with me everytime I see it.

And photographs are a weird thing; people get really bent out of shape about pictures of themselves, and I've had people get mad at me or think I've done it on purpose. It bewilders me, because the camera doesn't lie. Unlike a drawing or a painting, which is purely subject and interpretive, all a camera can do is capture the moment. With tools like PhotoShop and Lightroom and the popularity of digital photography, light can be corrected, blemishes brushed away, waists whittled... it's hard now to tell the difference between reality and the photographer's fantasy. And photographers are far too prepared to make everything look clean and shiny and appease the person whose picture they took.

There are reasons to have these things, to be sure. These tools have made photography more like painting and there is an art and a definite skillset to achieve "perfection." And I do admire those who are good at these things.

On the other hand, there are a host of really meaningless images out there that won't stand the test of time.... but thanks to the Internet will never, ever go away. It annoys me... because the good, eloquent, hard won images get lost in a vast and endless sea of dreck.

I wonder what the Old Ones would say...

An outshoot of the rant is that because people know they can be "airbrushed" a whole host of folk think they can be models. Or porn stars. Or eye candy. And want their photos taken because they KNOW the rolls can be erased or the weave line cleaned up. Instead of a big chick taking a sensual picture of herself and finding what's attractive in HER, they take a picture expecting you to make them look like a smooth size 8. When they're an 18. Shit. If you're a big girl, BE a big girl.

And then there's the whole graphic design thing. Pixilated images get published in magazines because people don't understand that a 72dpi image CANNOT be blown up to full print size. Nor do they understand why that's important.

And because there are billions of "fonts" out there, no one uses or understands the importance of clean, classic, readable typefaces.

Light "flares" and "drop shadows" make everything shiny; every one uses them. I use them too... people are so used to seeing them they rarely appreciate things that don't "bling". But at least I understand that things should also be well-designed.

There are hundreds of people with computers and "fonts" and Photoshop and think they can write a website or make a poster. No one does any research. No one tries to come up with a concept, tell a story... and worse, they'll accept $20 or $30 dollars to do a bullshit flier that floods the Internet and have no concept of being paid decently for quality work, clean images, readable typeface. In turn, clients don't understand why they should pay $2K for a great CD cover when they can pay Slim $40. The really good designers are now scrabbling for work and are seriously underpaid. The bullshit copyshop owner has a steady stream of lowbudge customers.

To think I suffered, cried, CRAWLED through two years of intense training to come out and be an unemployed design snob. And I STILL have shit to learn, am STILL hard on myself, cannot bring myself to do less than stellar on anything I set my mind too. Even when I'm paid nothing or next to nothing.

sigh...

I should have been a fucking lawyer. At least I'd be financially compensated for my research, eloquence, and interpretations of facts.

Except I am my father's child; my father the writing snob who never uses the verb "To Be" and couldn't be a lawyer, either...

1 comment:

السلميه said...

Wow! You've been writing a lot. I haven't been to blogspot for a while.

I guess I'm one of those with not much skill and a nice camera and a computer who likes to pretend I can design... I don't charge (anything) or much because I know I suck and have no training :) But I make that clear to people... I never thought about me doing little side stuff hurting people who actually know what they're doing.

I figure people should know the difference between quality work and "I need a logo in 30 minutes cause I have a presentation tomorrow." (True story!)

But I hear you. And I recognize that you know what you're doing and have genuine talent :)