Kill tradition

Getty has announced its latest set of grants. Here’s what Aiden Sullivan, vice president of photo assignments, told BJP:

In these difficult financial times, where it has become something of a rarity to obtain funding from traditional sources, this grant offers something of a lifeline.”

Photojournalism is always going to be a glass half empty whilst it laments the loss of ‘traditional sources’.

How about just dumping the word ‘traditional’ and reflecting what is out there right now?

The greatest set of tools we’ve ever had to tell stories. The largest number of possibilities to tell those stories. Audiences that we can only have dreamed of reaching before. Spaces where authentic voices are prized over agency ones. New revenue streams opening up and more importantly being opened up by visual journalists/storytellers.  Those hungry now.

Is it possible that some of the (traditional) grants that exist are a part of the problem?

A small number of gatekeepers with very traditional thinking on photography (stuck in a timewarp), on audience engagement, voting for each other, funding work that often can’t even be given away to magazines for free but will be admired online by the same group of people, or end up in a vanity book and then replicated by the next round of photographers (in medium format).  You have to ask yourself is that a tradition that needs saving?

It’s good to see Getty at least starting to nudge away from funding projects that do little more than celebrate the art of photography and push stereotypes around poverty and race.

The pace and the pulse  is set elsewhere. By people who respect tradition but ain’t going to let the mentality that goes with it kill the amazing possibilities that exist right now (Humans Of New York anyone).

Author — duckrabbit

duckrabbit is a production company formed by radio producer/journalist Benjamin Chesterton and photographer David White. We specialize in digital storytelling.

Discussion (1 Comment)

  1. Stan B. says:

    Even traditional film guy me realizes that photography will (and must) continue to change and evolve. There will always be a niche for more traditional “art” photography, and the market, as always, will determine the direction(s) where the more commercial product goes- the new blood will decide where and how the two will interact.

    Personally, I’m for whatever pushes the envelope that’ll create images (or image driven stories) with the weight that will endure the test of time, and not simply increase the speed and ease at which these images are moved about. Photography’s greatest asset remains its ability to stop time; recently it has been cannibalizing itself by speeding its own passage. “Humans,” while promising in its storytelling potential and undeniably HUGE in popularity, is mediocre at best in its imagery (and is probably as popular as it is because of the aesthetic accessibility of the latter). And Getty, of course, will support whatever benefits Getty.

    We’re in a time of transition driven head first by ever changing technology, and unlike times previous, this is a headwind where the dust may never settle… Giant Red Spot anyone?

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