Photography: impact of the pandemic on its career opportunities
Photography is the art of capturing compositions of light using digital equipment known as the camera. Commonly used in the fields of film, advertisement, art and video production, photography is also extensively used within science and manufacturing processes. It is used to obtain and record images for different purposes including preservation, documentation and journaling as well as in the representations of findings and elements that the human eye cannot perceive. Its use and application over the years has advanced, and photography as an artistic field now finds itself using sophisticated creative and technological methodologies of working. With the continued reliance on digital mediums, photography is witnessing a paradigm shift into a fully digitised field that has proved itself monumental in conserving moments as an artefact of prolonged consumption. Focusing on its capability for artistic and creative pursuits, photography can be identified under various categories based on their subject-matter or technique. On the basis of subject-matter, photography can include travel, fashion, events, wildlife, landscape, documentary, lifestyle and so on. These subject-matters can be identified through various techniques including micro and macro, photojournalism, infrared, motion blur and others.
With the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, attitude and dependence on photography as a medium of image making is witnessing a change. Within the various divisions of photography, event photography unarguably is witnessing the highest impact from the pandemic as social interaction is its primary subject-matter. As the pandemic has brought restrictions on most social activities, photography of events including fashion, wedding, seminar or any other celebratory or non-celebratory human gatherings is continuously enquiring new ways of working. With it impacting human buying and consumption behaviour, advertisement photography is going through a phenomenon of re-invention. The challenge advertisers face with regard to creating interest within the consumers to purchase their product during a time when the economy of the person as well as the society is affected is what is being witnessed. Along with this, ‘work from home’ mode has affected industrial and corporate photography due to the vacancy of workspace, which in turn is impacting interior as well as architectural photography of the built environment.
The challenges that the pandemic has brought with it has definitely affected the process of image making regardless of what category its subject-matter falls under. However, it is an opportunity for event photographers to reconsider their practice and to explore new ways of image making and taking. This has brought a chance to expand its potential beyond its creative and technical dimensions but also in enquiring new possibilities of its practice and concept.
Eligibility and skill
What sets apart a successful photographer is their passion for creative image making. In order to be eligible to be a photographer, it is not necessary that one should be formally trained in it, although an education in it can provide them with the knowledge relating to their career. Whether trained formally or otherwise, what an aspiring photographer needs to do is identify what kind of subject-matter inspires them and to find their creative identity. The realisation of these however come only through direct experimentation and exploration of the practice, and through this process one understands their strength, skill and potential. As camera and its equipment form the medium of the practice, one requires knowledge of the working of these technical tools and also the capability to navigate its handling. The frame of the camera becomes the framework for a photographer’s creative vision and they need to have a visual sensitivity to the composition within it. As every creative individual is different, some possess an instinctive ability for composition and placement, while others through learning and experimentation understand how to create a visually pleasing image. This employs for an understanding of various design elements as well as foundational principles of design, enabling one to create images that align with the visual senses. Through innovative approaches that combine the usage of creative thinking as well as technical manipulation, a photographer can create images that are more than reproductions or replications, but rather an artefact of value which celebrate what it is to be human.
Photography as a career path is witnessing continuous change. As the pandemic is an example of propelling this change, an attitude of adaptability and an openness to experiment new ways of working considers itself highly valuable in sustaining one’s practice as well as in investigating the potential and scope of photography. Making a career as a photographer depends on their area of interest and the skills they possess, along with the ability to adapt and meet the challenges of their practice. As the concept of photography as well as its significance is evolving with current times, photographers face the biggest opportunity — to redefine its possibility to portray the power of humanity and human experiences. JD Institute of Fashion Technology through its Diploma in Fashion Photography supports this explorative and experimental approach to photography to enquire new possibilities of its practice in fashion.