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    Paper to Screen Migration and its Possible Impact on Photography

    Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2017)

    London, UK, 11 - 13 July 2017


    Julian Hawkins



    “The revolution won’t be televised, it will be streamed.” This adaptation of paraphrasing Gil Scott-Heron’s was how Perelman (2014) to explain the importance of understanding the correct platform with which to disseminate your content. As a photographer who teaches undergraduate digital photography, I am highly aware of the rapidly changing face of my industry and how the certainties that existed earlier in my career have given way to an entirely new environment. It is my responsibility to endeavour to assist my students in understanding how to navigate this changing workplace and adapt to the differing demands that it expects. As screen based publishing supersedes paper, similar restructuring will happen as it did in the wake of Gutenberg with old professions fell away whilst new ones appeared. The same has been happening in the photographic industry over the past fifteen years. Photographers are no longer the suppliers of purely still images, they have moved into the realms of becoming content providers. Needing to be able to shoot stills as before yet also generate video footage, record audio (both ambient sound and specific interviews), edit and so forth.

    Trying to make sense of what is currently a highly confused business landscape is something that photography educators need to address. Shirky (2009) proposes a positive outcome to the conundrum of what will replace the old model and that is, “Nothing will work, but everything might.” And although it is now apparent that society no longer needs printed matter it still needs professional, ethical, committed photojournalists, writers and content creators to provide the raw material that will populate future media. While currently printed magazines such as ID remain as flagships for their electronic counterpart yet lose money.

    The task I have set myself is to talk directly to leading practitioners and industry insiders in the hope of having a clearer understand of emerging technological trends, as well as the solutions that are being tested by creatives to adapt to the changes around us. At BBC Radio 1, they have moved a formerly aural media into the visual whilst still in essence being radio. This they achieved by engaging with their audience via YouTube and which the controller, Cooper (2014), described as “listen + watch + share.” It is becoming that photographers need to understand not just the essentials of image capture but also those of image placement so that they can build themselves up and thus market themselves as a brand. Stephen Mayes observes this causing clients wanting to be associated with photographers who have high brand profile.


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