Every era has its artistic trends, and 2020s photography is no exception. Some trends may be here to stay, others are just fads that will die out – and some of them might annoy you.
In this video, Adam Karnacz of First Man Photography lists five current photography trends that he thinks need to go. Let’s see if you agree with his choice and if you would like to see them disappear as well.
1. Equipment Upgrade Cycle
Technology development is rapid and it seems like every brand announces a new flagship camera every few months. This puts pressure on photographers that they have to upgrade more often than they actually do. In fact, even a 10-year-old camera will do a good job in 2022 if you know what you’re doing.
One thing I’ve noticed, as has Adam, is that the conversation about photography often revolves around equipment and its specs. And we both agree that it’s a bit boring. Personally, I find it very unsatisfying, unproductive and even tiring. Adam hopes this is a trend that is coming to an end, and that discussions of gear and incredibly common upgrades will turn to more attention to the art of photography.
2. Social Media
Social media is full of aggressive people and trolls, we have all experienced this before. But that’s just one of the downsides of social media. The one Adam focuses on the most in this video is algorithms. They are not created to help you, but to provide you with the most engaging and clickable videos and photos. Since TikTok came along, it seems to me that all of social media has become more focused on short, entertaining (and often silly) videos. Because of this, Adam notes that content is no longer king: it’s catchy, clickable headlines and potentially viral videos that can generate more advertising revenue.
NFTs seem to be all the rage right now. Over the past two years, many photographers and other visual artists have started using it to sell their work. Some of them have made thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars selling NFTs, which has probably prompted others to jump on the bandwagon.
While there are upsides to selling NFTs as a photographer, Adam notes there are downsides as well. In a recent Twitter feed, he wrote quite extensively about the issues after researching NFTs for a year. In the end, he decided not to sell his because the whole idea sounded a little too much like a Ponzi scheme.
Apart from NFTs, AI has also taken the world of photography by storm. Every photo editing software now has AI-driven features, just like many phone cameras. And it is inevitable that this trend will continue. When it does, will the AI be able to take better pictures than us? Adam argues that he’s already better at editing than a human, but I tend to disagree, I think that’s still pretty far off. According to Adam, the development of AI technology could potentially lead to the loss of jobs in the photography industry. Although, as long as the AI mixes the dunes for the nudes, I think we’re safe.
Even if the AI ends up being a better photographer than human photographers, it can never make a better story than us. So, again, I think good photographer-storytellers are always safe.
5. Lack of authenticity
Being difficult is essential as a photographer, but it’s harder than it looks. And it’s not just because photography has become so readily available to everyone. As Adam notes, authenticity requires that we have some level of self-awareness and self-understanding of our own intentions. Personally, I think those are the keys to authenticity, but Adam expressed it perfectly.
Adam gives some examples of inauthenticity: asking insincere questions to stimulate interaction, lying (about anything), representing opinion as fact, and acting as a gatekeeper. What I would add here is blindly following trends, which makes a bunch of Instagram accounts look like they were created by the same person.
I don’t know which of these trends are here to stay, and which are fads that will soon die out. Only time will tell. But if you’re annoyed by these or other trends, Adam suggests a few solutions. Make sure you surround yourself with great people in real life, but I would add that on social media too. Always seek the truth, practice critical thinking, stay curious, and keep an open mind to those you disagree with. And finally, take your camera, go out and take some pictures.
[5 Annoying Photography Trends | First Man Photography]