Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Future of Photography

Does photography have a future or will be be returning to rock art? The world is descending deeper and deeper into the economic depression that the banks created - slowly and silently sinking into the mire that only a great economic upheaval will resolve. This is not a recession. This is a fully-fledged economic depression, greater than the economic depression that kicked off World War Two.

The signs of economic disaster are all present. Nobody has any money, we had a little upstart dictator in Pakistan by the name of Osama bin Laden who tried to urge the Moslems into revolt against the West in a psuedo anti-Crusade where America was viewed as the medieval Popes viewed Jerusalem - the kingdom they wanted to own.

Several years ago, a wise fellow I met in an hotel in Eindhoven (or Veldhoven) when I was in Holland was chatting with me. His view was the world was entering a very dangerous phase. Nobody had money, governments didn't have any money, people didn't have jobs. People that had jobs couldn't make ends meet.

I look around me and I see dishonesty becoming endemic. I see people cheating their taxes. I see people regarding it as normal to over-claim their business expenses. I see people working under the table without declaring their earnings. I see businesses giving people ever less hours - I have neighbors who have to live together in multi-family households just to keep food in their bellies and a roof over their heads. I see employers demanding 24 x 7 availability for their part-time workers which is essentially saying "This is a part time job and if we call you and you can't come in because you're at you're other job, you're out of this job". We traded slavery for servitude. People are getting ever unhappier with their lot. At the same time as this is all happening, people have forgotten the important things in life.

Being from Britain, I don't have the lavish views of how life should be but isn't. My lifestyle is not a champagne lifestyle and a beer budget. My parents grew up during World War Two when life was hard. My late aunt served as an anti-aircraft gunner during the war, shooting down Nazi aeroplanes. My grandparents served in the trenches of France during the Great War and some had served in the Crimean War too. I know how to budget and how to conserve finances. It constantly shocks me to see the waste around me - organizational waste, personal waste, waste of resources, waste of human resources.

I am amazed at the broken nature of business in the US, the broken nature of healthcare, the broken nature of transport, the broken nature of recruitment, the broken nature of the American Dream, the broken nature of politics, the broken nature of pretty much everything. It's all so easily fixable but nobody wants even to try, preferring to wallow in their own pits of misery, pumping themselves full of antidepressants, alcohol, illegal drugs and fake champagne lifestyles, putting their fingers in their ears and their hands over their eyes to pretend they're happy.

This is all part and parcel of the same thing and affects photography and photographers equally. Without major change, disaster is only just around the corner - as the fellow I met all those years ago in Holland predicted. Without concerted changes at all levels, the photography of the future will be rock art.

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