Door, Charleston, South Carolina
When photographic options were limited, we had arbiters of photographic taste that were able to direct the masses to “good” photographs. The arbiters of good taste were capable of rationally explaining why certain photographs were “good” in comparison to others. There were conventions that made discernment of good photography readily identifiable. The reasoning was rational, based on aesthetics of the past and required dedication to craft.
Of course, today things are much, much different. The Web, Instagram, flickr and other social media sites have given the masses the ability to share their photographs and in doing so have redefined photographic aesthetics - democratically. The taste of popular photography has shifted to take into account what is considered a “good” photograph. The “goodness” of a photograph can be determined by the numbers of “thumbs up” given to a particular image. Those that are learning the process and commenting on the work of others with no real experience or qualifications are considered “experts” because they have the temerity to offer their opinions on image sharing sites.
Beginners are learning photographic aesthetics from others that are as equally unqualified as themselves. Possession of a log on ID does not confer upon the owner the privilege of becoming either a learned critic of photographic art or photographic instructor. But, alas, that is the future or photography. Photography is being taught to the masses by those that are not the least bit steeped in an aesthetic, but are more technologically adept at manipulating software, because that’s what photography has become.