26 May The Decline in the Quality of Photography and the Real-world Consequences

Source: Thomas Fitzgerald Photography

It’s easy to get caught up in various discussion online about all things photographic, both technical and artistic. Some of these discussions are useful, but many are frankly nonsense. Some of the photography tropes that have become accepted in some quarters are doing active harm to the art of photography. The biggest of these is the notion that quality doesn’t matter. I see this over and over again, and while I’ve discussed this before, and why it does actually matter, I wanted to talk about the non-abstract real-world effects of this. The quality of photography used in professional settings is declining, and it’s leading to a drop in quality of magazines and books and other publications of all types (not just photography related.)

Let me tell you a story.

The other day I was in a book store for the first time in six months. As we slowly come out of lockdown here in Ireland, it was the first week this year that non-essential retail was allowed to open, and I took the opportunity to visit my favourite store in Dublin, the city’s biggest bookshop. While browsing through the books I found myself in the nature section, and there I saw what looked to be a fascinating book on woodlands. The cover had a beautiful photo of a forest on it and I thought to myself — this looks interesting. Picking it up to have a flick through the pages, I was immediately disappointed by what was inside.

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