Digital Photography; A Perspective

I was being given a tour of the catwalk of the Verizon Center, the home of the Washington Capitals, Wizards and the Mystics by DC’s official photographer, Mitchell Layton when I realized what I wanted my digital project to be. Tying in themes from my written project proposal, I wanted to venture into the realm of sports photography and further explore the transition between film and digital photography and its significance in changing the archiving method of the photos.

I would like to use a website like Omeka, or venture into the world of Adobe’s Dreamweaver in an attempt to design my own website to try to document the change over the past couple decades towards the use of digital cameras instead of film, which had been the staple for nearly a century of sports photography. I would also like to continue exploring the idea of the future leaning more towards high-resolution digital video rather than continuing to use photography.

Newseum has a travelling exhibit: “Athlete: The Sports Illustrated Photography of Walter Iooss” that I would like to view that might help me further understand what exactly it is that I want to do. I’ve heard that the work of art is rather moving, but there’s no online version of the exhibit. I would love to be able to use an exhibit in the mind of this display in order to allow those who don’t know much about digital sports photography to learn about the transition from film to digital storage. I would like to use photos from several different photographers, though that might be difficult to acquire. From there, I would use my idea of creating interviews from my print project and turn it into an interactive podcast for the viewers. These podcasts would be interviews with the professional photographers that I know, in an attempt for my viewers to better understand the transition. These podcasts would be a series of interviews coming from different photographers that would focus on the ease (or struggles) of the transition. I will try to explore the effectiveness of archiving the photos, selling the photos, and submitting them to newspapers or magazines and getting them published.

With this in mind, I’m not sure if I should focus on the struggles of photographers from around the country or just in the immediate D.C. area. Input on this would be helpful, but I’m starting to lean towards focusing on just the D.C. and Maryland area. Finally, I want to explore what consequences this has had on the ability of photographers to find and keep jobs. Having talked to Mitchell Layton, I know that there are interesting stories about SI dropping photographers, so I think that would be really interesting to explore.

Design-wise, I would love to be able to make a digital exhibit, where a viewer can come and explore at their own pace, taking their time and listening to a full podcast, or moving on to another topic of digital photography. Using Communicating Design will be rather helpful in developing this website, but I think my graphic design class will help me too, especially in making the design more appealing to the consumer. From this perspective, my target audience will be history buffs and those that are looking to get into the business of digital photography. I want to provide an accurate history and an interesting perspective on what may happen in the realm of digital sports photography. Besides, I’m an amateur photographer myself, and I would find a site like this extremely intriguing. Hopefully other people like me would find it interesting too.

One Reply to “Digital Photography; A Perspective”

  1. Taking your ideas about doing interviews from your print project to the digital project seems like a very natural fit. In this case, I would really suggest using WordPress for this sort of thing. Posting content over time is just so much better handled in WordPress than most other platforms. Further, if you do decide to do this as a podcast it will be way easier to make that work in WordPress than in any other platform.

    I would encourage you to think a good bit about what exactly you want to get in these interviews. You are going to want to draft a set of general questions that you use for this and it is critical that they really focus in on what you are interested in here, the shift from analog to digital photography.

    Further, I would encourage you to think about wether audio or text is the way you want to conduct the interviews. If you record conversations they tend to be a bit more candid. The recordings capture a lot of subtly and nuance that are not recorded in text. With that said, I have had a fair amount of success doing these kinds of interviews over email (just send the set of 4-7 questions over email and have them right back to you) or in google docs (just fill in the questions share the doc and they fill in their answers). In these cases you tend to get more thought out and considered answers. You lose some of the spontaneity of the audio interview but you might get more considered responses. Lastly, if you do do this in text that text is fully searchable which is a really valuable thing in its own right. So that is just one thing you will want to think through.

    As far as scoping this to DC metro area photographers I don't think it is something you need to be too concerned. It is fine for you to do your interviews in the DC area and just leave it at that. As the primary object of your study is the transition from analog to digital, I don't think you need to worry about their experiences being too different than other places.

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