I was talking to a guy last week about my work at Getty [i’m a Photographer- I take photos and sell them through their site]. The conversation turned to why I hadn’t pursued photography as my career. I have a creative background [I studied Fine Art at University] but whilst I would love to be a professional Documentary Photographer I just don’t think it’s required as much in today’s World.
Almost everyone has the capabilities and tools to document what’s going on around them, whether that is via photography or word, the way we create and share news has changed so dramatically in the last ten years that I believe within the next ten ‘professional’ broadcasters may not even exist.
During the Arab Spring uprising last year, we relied heavily on the civilians of the countries to document and share what they saw, heard and experienced first hand. People watched closely across the internet as content in all mediums came flooding in, photos, videos, tweets, blog posts, etc. In many instances, content and news was being broadcasted a lot faster by the ‘amateur on the street’ via social channels then from News Corporations and official broadcasters.
The introduction of the internet and the progression of social media has paved the way for sites such as wikis, forums, blogs, social networks and even apps to provide free platforms for users to create, share and distribute news. It is this open network of communication and the availability of decent technology that has opened the doors for ‘amateurs’ to become broadcasters.
As Clay Shirky writes in ‘Here Comes Everybody‘
“The future presented by the internet is the mass amateurization of publishing and a switch from ‘Why publish this?’ to ‘Why not?”
Platforms and tools have become so readily available to us that our generation is sharing content to the masses without the hesitation of the past. With free platforms to market ourselves, we no longer rely so heavily on News Corporations, publishers or agents to recognise talent or receive breaking news. Instead we use the tools we have available, such as the internet and communities, to learn, amplify, market and engage with one another.
So whilst I’ll always carry a camera and smart phone around with me, documenting life as it goes by, the need for a ‘professional’ to do what an amateur could do faster is less required in today’s world, and I believe even more so in tomorrows.