In the world of art the debate on the content and form is quite old. Every day there is a new facet to it. The interleaved relationship of content and form in the context of medium has been discussed to a great depth by several artists and art critics. How much does a form or content depend on medium in which it is represented to the audience? How much does any medium enrich the content in any specific way? How critical is the balance? and Why are we talking about this in photography related discussion?
Too many questions to confuse any one including me. Well, I shall start with the last one. Over last 175 years of photography, the changes in medium were nothing short of dramatic. The formats of cameras, printing and display related technology, and mediums of display or dissemination evolved vastly. Today a basic DSLR can be afforded by many. The idea for a lot of people is to look tech-savvy or may be to get nice looking photographs. Many of the people just keep them on a automatic program mode and keep taking the photos. Some of them I have seen either appreciate the blur background or get confused that why the image was not in focus to the end. The answer could be the lack in user’s understanding of the depth of field.
So is it good or bad that many people own a DSLR from the perspective of a photographer. My experience of having this conversation with professionals around led me to have an answer with which few of the pro photographers would definitely agree. The basic or utilitarian task of the photo is taken over by the people themselves. It is not necessarily linked with many people owning a DSLR rather the medium of photography has seen tremendous change from the very time of its inception. Cameras became increasingly compact and powerful and as a result capturing an image became an effortless affair. The mobility of the camera has allowed multiple genres to emerge in photography.
The discipline in the practice of a professional photographer is achieved only after knowing criticalities of one’s tool. A professional always knows the best possible ways to get a great image in most conditions. Only one’s knowledge allows him to adapt to limitations of technology and create a successful photograph. This however is not the case with amateur photographers or hobbyists. The difference in the lack of information is the result of because photography for a hobbyist is just another source of entertainment. A professional too is general entertained by his profession but he also understands the value that good and purposefully taken photographs bring to his or her client. In a commercial world a huge business is dependent on photography. It may need varying degrees of skill and experience in respective genres but at the same time this comes with certain commitment and training.
On the whole photography happens to be a great source of entertainment as well as a profession for many. There is a certain grey area where transition of the photography’s role takes place. The serious professionals and hobbyists usually have a different appeal. The technology bridges the gap with its advancement over the passage of time, but the depth of a professional’s study and practice bring about a constant need for certain tasks to be dependent only on a professional thus reaffirming that a hobbyist does not successfully replace a professional. The broader view in any such profession would rather conclude in a similar observation.