Today I gave a tour of my show to a group of Nelson-Atkins Museum docents. They were very engaged and interested, and they asked great questions. The give and take of our dialogue made me think about some things in new ways. What a valuable experience it was for me.
We talked about the fact that everyone is a photographer now - and how different that is from when I first got started in the medium. They wondered if I am aware of making a conscious decision to try to make photographs that might possibly rise above the thousands of other pictures that are made of similar subjects on a daily basis.
I do think about this. I thought about it as recently as this past weekend when I was in Chicago. I was taking pictures of something that was being simultanesouly photographed by hundreds of other tourists. My guess is there were tens of thousands of pictures taken at this very site over the long holiday weekend.
So I stood there trying to make one that might be more interesting than most of the others - those that no doubt spilled out onto Flickr, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook today.
I suggested to the docents that perhaps the fact that everyone has a camera now has made us commercial and fine art shooters work a lot harder than we used to.
And, actually, I think that's a good thing.