Image courtesy of Verbatim

As a photojournalist, my passion, my love for what I do is driven by telling compelling stories with images.

I recently came across an article that discusses what was once a well respected and valued form of visual content creation that has been reduced to almost non-existence as a result of the shifting tides of editorial outlets.

The case is made for utilizing what I would term a hybrid approach to compelling storytelling in the vein of photojournalism — that of commercial brands backing projects that have real substance to the stories being told.

Is this really the future of…

David DuChemin recently posted a couple of powerful pieces that have hit very close to home for me.

His stated in is blog posting that speaks to my low tolerance for Social Media:

“we are not teaching people to revere our work.”

I can attest to the same feelings he has about how can we transcend the quick hit, mediocre imagery that seems to be the new acceptable norm and dig deeper, producing those images that inspired me for instance back in the day?

Photo by David Burnett

David Burnett ( William Albert Allard were my inspirations back in the late 80’s and 90’s…

The Passion & Courage of Keeping It Local as Visual Journalists

Waiting to Dance — photo by Cliff Etzel

I believe it was @DavidLeeson who said (and I’m paraphrasing):

“It’s easier to travel half way around the world and photograph a war or famine than it is to document your own community”

That statement has stuck with me to this day — and for good reason. The idea that there are more important stories to be told in some far away land is remiss by those of us in the photojournalism and documentary photography sphere.

The state of the profession today has been greatly diminished by the ever-increasing…

Artist Emily Proudfoot for LaneCounty360 — Photo by Cliff Etzel

The continuing demise of small town newspapers, the budget and staff cuts at daily newspapers driven by profit only has resulted in the lack of quality coverage of day to day life in communities across this country.

David Hobby created a visual journal called HoCo360 which he describes as follows:

Think of HoCo360 as the photo department in this new group of online publications. It’s an online visual journal, seeking to explore Howard County and serve up the interesting bits in quick-hit bites. Generally, one or more photos and an extended caption and you’re out the door.

The limitations are…

The Herd Mentality: The Demise of Creativity

To play upon Mark Twain’s misquote: “The rumors of (prints) death has been greatly exaggerated”

The Blind Leading The Blind — aka Herd Mentality

The digital realm has brought artistic expression to anyone… and what we have now are dump trucks backing up and unloading loads and loads of disposable, mediocre content that feeds our societies ADHD viewing habits.

The internet has created a disturbing trend — Everyone now expects something for nothing, no longer wanting to pay a real living wage to writers, photographers, newspapers, magazines, etc for their creative hard work.

As much as this might come across as judgmentally…

“I have been wondering whether we have completely underestimated the viability and usefulness of the print product.”

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated…

Here I am writing a posting in cyberspace about the paradigm of the resurgence of physical printed news media.

Irony at it’s finest.

It’s been my opinion that print news media is sitting on the edge of a renaissance of sorts. We’ve hit that point of so many online news outlets — both legit and fake — that many readers now wonder whether the information they’re reading is truly accurate.

This was never an issue back when readers received their newspaper or news…

If a client hires you because of the size of the camera you use it’s a clear sign that she is hiring a commodity — just another photographer — not a brand.

David DuChemin pretty much sums up this fixation that digital photography has perpetrated on the profession.

Gear is the commodity. If you align yourself with a particular brand of camera thinking the work will just come pouring in instead of creating what you do as the brand, then “what we got have here is a failure to communicate.”

His blog posting really smacks at the heart of…

“It’s easy these days to pick up a camera and take a nice photo but it’s harder to tell a story…”

Documentary Portrait on assignment by Cliff Etzel

I love the genre of still photography — it has been and always will be my first true love as a visual medium. The realities of an over-saturated photography market have dictated a shift into other areas that many find intimidating.

Many of my colleagues close to my age (late 40’s and up) lament to me (and I at times to them), even romanticize, about the good ol’ days of shooting film and how it was by it’s very…

I’m all for earning an income from being a visual content creator — but the dump truck mentality of mediocre content that pervades our A.D.D. culture has missed the boat in those stories that have true value and meaning for the sake of the pablum for the sheeple masses being force fed to them into complacency.

Brian Storm, founder of MediaStorm nails this perfectly.

Be the change you want to see in the world. Bring value in your personal/professional mission statement and bring that to those organizations/clients that align as well with what you believe.

Page views does not…

“One might almost say that truth itself depends on the tempo, the patience and perseverance of lingering with the particular.”

The ever increasing, headlong rush for more and more “trite and superficial” content without regard for the use of critical thinking has resulted in our society , by and large, becoming ADHD.

No longer do people read newspapers or magazines that published long form well written content, which by the very nature of the medium, forced readers to slow down and actually digest said content within the printed page. …

Cliff Etzel

Documentary & Street Photographer, Visual Storyteller, based in Eugene, Oregon

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