Since taking up digital photography I’ve learned that although I enjoy making beautiful images, what I like most to do with them is not adorn walls, but rather web pages. I like to tell stories with my stills, arranging them in narrated slideshows, or use them as graphic illustrations of and a visual relief from text on a computer screen. I’ve discovered, in other words, that I’m a photo journalist, and primarily a web one.
Because I enjoy telling stories with my images, I’ve moved toward video, a natural transition, it seems to me. When Flickr began to invite members to upload short videos, there was a hue and cry in the community against this policy, for it seemed to many a crass commercial surrendering to another art form that was not photography, and was, many thought, somehow unworthy of so high a respect. This, in my humble opinion, was silly. Movies, after all, were an outgrowth of photography. Video is fundamentally moving pictures. Good cinematography depends upon the fundamentals of good photography: good exposure, good focus, good composition. It seems plain to me that before one can be a good film maker one must first have mastered photography. And besides, as I’ve advanced in my film making skills, I’ve learned that stills can be very valuable in film making, and not just by way of zooming and panning to give them movement, a technique made popular but not invented by Ken Burns in his TV Civil War series. Stills make excellent title sequences, and sometimes they are essential as cut-aways, to give visual material to the video editor when he/she wants to keep the audio portion of a clip but for some reason finds the video portion unacceptable. So, I do not share other Flickr members’ dismay at the admission of short videos to Flickrdom. My love for video in no way diminishes my love for photography, but rather compliments and enhances it.