Do you like country music (or music in general for that matter)? Hey, me too and here's a video that I think raises interesting questions and may serve as a great thought exercise regarding modern media trends and the problems of sameness.
In this video from Grady Smith, he's talking about what's trending these days with modern country music. Let's be clear, he's not talking about the photography industry, but watch the video and stick with me on this one because I think I can bring it back full circle. I was at the gym doing cardio and like usual I found myself also scrolling YouTube; I came across this video and seeing as how I enjoy country music, the video grabbed my attention and I gave it a watch. While I found myself agreeing with much of what Smith says, I also found myself immediately drawing parallels with social media trends and the photography industry.
The gist of Smith's video is that there is a current trend in country music that due to large scale success on the charts is creating ripple effects throughout the industry that has many of the top artists doing the same thing. The basic trend is that homogeny in one particular area is taking over to the detriment of the industry at large. Sameness is becoming the norm the expensive of craft, expression, passion, and musical styling. It's reaching a point where many of the modern country hits feel like they've followed a recipe and thus lack the meaning of something created with heart.
How does any of this relate to the photography industry though? Think about the kinds of images that you've been seeing on Instagram over the last year or so. Don't the majority of images kind of look the same these days? How many person-in-raincoat-and-in-awe-of-waterfall photos have you seen? What about pretty-girl-sitting-outside-coffee-shop images or editorial images edited with identical green and gold color presets? Popular social media photography trends have so rapidly steered many people away from pursuing passion-based content and towards what they think will yield the most likes and comments.
When so much of what we see looks the same, it starts to cheat the things that should matter. It starts to feel like we're becoming numb to a passion-based creative process and more like we're robots churning out whatever we're told is popular. As Smith makes his case that there is a trend killing country music, do you feel like there are social media trends that could be killing photography? Obviously country music isn't going to disappear in the same way that photography isn't going away either, the thought exercise here is to ask ourselves if we feel that the trends of now could be detrimental to the creative future of the industry. Chime in with a comment, I'd love to know what you folks think on this one.