Jorge Parra Photography listed as one of Miami’s Top 20 Portrait Photographers

It is certainly very cool news when an impartial entity does a review of the local talent in the Miami / Miami Beach area, fully crowded with amazing photographers, and still get listed as one of the Top 20 Portrait Photographers in Miami. Can’t be any happier!!

Check Miami’s Top 20 Portrait Photographers

There are many areas of Photography which have suffered from the Digital Divide and the fact that the democratization of the image and the tools available have turned everyone a self-appointed photographer, only means that professional shooters do have to work harder and produce top qualitywork to stay in the game, and prove their worth.

Portrait Photography is one of those areas that may survive the hurricane that digital technologies brought out to either eliminate or radically change the way it is done. There is always the need, either personal, commercial or artistic, to capture the looks of people, either as a document or as a statement, and not everybody is up to the task of grabbing those essential gestures and details that make up the personality of each individual. In the end, we are humans dealing with humans!!

Now, thinking in terms of slowing or dying trends, take for example Car Photography. There are countless former Car Photo Studios in Detroit that stopped producing images, specially those who never got into CGI technologies, which allows the user to start with a simple image of a car, even from a Smartphone, and the software, in the hands of an experienced user, can rebuild the car entirely, even creating a different lighting, place the car in any location, and quickly changing the color of the car, to show the entire gamut available on the market.

Years ago, a photographer had to shoot each and every car model  and color, and the studio lighting systems were powerful and huge. You HAD to be an expert craftsman and lighting guru, in order to make a fantastic car photo! Today, most of the work is done in Post Production, starting with images that need little attention to detail, considering everything can me modified in Post! That is the reason, we can see those fabulous cars roaming all the way up to snowy mountains and jungles and surreal landscapes, both natural and artificial.

See for example:

 

When I am asked about the Future of Photography ( you can check other previous posts I have made about this subject), I think that a few areas will remain untouched:

Basically, Portraits will always be needed, and, as explained above, require a good deal of human interaction. Celebrities will always need their most recent images, Paparazzi photography will still be there too! On the other side of the spectrum, Documentary Photography, Travel and Nature, Events Photography and of courseFine Art Photography will always be there, given the intrinsic curiosity of artists to explore the media in countless ways, always producing new, creative work. Film Photography is back, with many millennials embracing it as a very unexpected trend, staying away from digital technologies, and we all welcome this!!

What will survive and what not is always an open question, so I would like to hear other’s opinions too!

In the meantime, I am happy to be named one of the Top 20 Portrait Shooters in Miami, and, if you wanna find out why and have a taste of it, just make sure to contact me at your earliest convenience, and we will set up some cool time together!! Just click on the Logo below.

Cheers!

Check Jorge Parra’s Website here!

#miamiportraitphotographer #miamiadvertisingphotographer #miamicommercialphotographer #jorgeparraphotography

Specialization through Diversification? Digital Technology is changing the meaning of old tags and categories for Photographers

All Photos ©2014 Jorge Parra.
All Photos ©2014 Jorge Parra.

We are living the interesting yet critical transition period during which most of the analog world is crumbling, and giving up way to an entire paradigm, where digital technologies are replacing the old ways, new rules are redefining many concepts in most industries and markets, changing education, culture, the arts (pls, check our previous posts in this matter).

One interesting case in point is how the definitions of what used to be a “Specialized” Professional Photographer, as opposed to the classic “Generalist” shooter, this guy who used to be the “Jack of all Trades”, have changed in time.

Most photographers who have dealt mostly with Advertising projects have traditionally been more successful when they were truly specialized shooters. Either still Life, or landscape, or architectural, or People/Lifestyle,etc, with a known style have been (and some still are) picked more frequently for large scale productions. “Being in the top of their game” has been a requirement for hiring shooters for national , international and global campaigns.

That is not the case at all times anymore. Photographers who have worked specialized in just one area of expertise are now doing this “cross-over” to often unrelated fields, and success has not left them behind. Add to that that motion works, video and cinematography are now part of the skills required by many demanding jobs, and here you have,  an old concept has totally changed:

Traditionally, the Generalist was the guy who would do (or at least try) to do it all, commercial assignments, weddings on the weekends, family portraits, catalogs, etc,etc, and in most cases, this traditional “Jack of all Trades” was barely capable of producing, mediocre work, and, at best just “good enough” images. Think of it as the TV spot about the couple taking their car to the repair shop, and finding out the mechanic in charge happens to be also their tax accountant… Of course, no one wants that!!

Now, digital technology, in combo with the human curiosity and creativity, opens up a new vision and understanding of what a “Diversified”, Cross-over photographer is and can do, and by all means, is NOT a Generalist no more.

Adding Photoshop and illustration skills (not just retouching), in combo with CGI implementation, (even via team collaboration), the ability to direct people and even inanimate objects in motion sequences, TV commercials, music clips, etc, plus the ability to go from studio to locations, from outdoors to indoors,  from natural to artificial lighting, from people to objects, in a seamless manner, makes them a new type of shooter.

In short, the classic definition of a Generalist is merely a concept of the past. 

The Diversified, Cross-over visual artist is a new kind of creator, full of passion , know-how and sharp as the traditional Specialists, with all the skill sets required for highly demanding jobs, and yet capable to jump from Advertising to Editorial, from Fashion to Landscape, from Portraits to Still Life, and produce outstanding results.

It is important to mention that this is NOT easy to achieve: There is a quite long learning curve for the Diversified shooter, given the demands imposed from the specialty crossover process. New still image processing software, new video/motion equipment in the market, editing software, post-processing understanding and capabilities, plus several production capabilities need to be learned, mastered and performed impeccably in order to be really successful in this new world.

Two relevant examples of the “cross over” photographers, visual artists with with no apparent photographic specialty can be seen in the work of two fantastic shooters:

 Nadav Kander and Platon

Take a look at Nadav Kander’s website. The work is totally different, from portraits, to landscape,etc, there are several styles of work, but all are glued by a vision.

http://www.nadavkander.com/#

Same can be said of internationally renowned Platon, who may jump seamlessly from photojournalism, to Advertising, into Fashion and other fields:

http://www.platonphoto.com

Other successful examples are easy to find online.

One interesting personal observation in this regard, is my personal experience with Advertising Photography: most of the times shooters are called for his/her strong vision on a field, BUT, on some occasions, they are hired (by interesting and challenging creatives or clients) to shoot some project outside their “comfort zone”, and this helps building up a body of work of seemingly unrelated areas, all just unified trough the photographer’s particular vision.

Same thing can happen with editorial work: you can be shooting fashion this week, and next you may be shooting corporate portraits, and next you can be directing a video.

Resolving the production values required to put together such different kind of projects through his/her vision, is what helps the photographer develop the skill sets necessary to perform the cross-over successfully, something the “classical” specialist may not be trained to do.

In conclusion: I feel it is time to say goodbye to the term and related poor reputation of the“Generalist”, and embrace the new, “Diversified Photographer”, the successful Cross-over shooter, one qualified and able to do specialized, high end work in different fields. The changes in meaning and scope may also apply to other creative careers indeed.

About the author: Jorge Parra is an Advertising, Fashion and Fine Art photographer, well known for his ability to work and direct people, and upon the request of clients and creatives, he has diversified his portfolio into other areas, like Architecture/ Interior Design Photography, gaining clients from the Leisure and Luxury markets in the process. All about Jorge can be found in his Visual Hub (www.TheVisualHub.com)

Business challenges for the Visual Arts in the Digital Era. Part 2: The Fine Art Market

Hooray Picasso!! by ©2014 JorgeParra
We talked in  Part 1  about the major challenges most professional photographers have to deal in commercial/advertising markets due to the democratization process introduced by digital technologies, as cliches and new standards. like “good enough images” or “Your camera takes great pictures” have affected the perception of what a REAL professional photographer brings to the table for the execution of a project.
The Fine Art market has also been shaken in both directions, for the benefit of it, but also to absorbe certain negative aspects that are reshaping the way collectible visual art is perceived.
One one end, Photography has got another setback. Back in the analog – film- era, it was relatively easy to point out how many original prints were done from each negative. There was a lot of art, technique, craftsmanship and commitment for an artist to be able to identically reproduce a few ( limited number) of prints, and offer them for sale as a Limited Edition Series. A scarcity criteria will just pump the prices up as the availability of less prints in the market would command for a higher price tag to acquire one such work. Much certainly, serious Art Collectors look ONLY for this kind of work to invest in, and the smaller the number of originals in a series, the better.
Now, when discussing modern photography, digital technologies allow for endless reproduction of copies that look and feel exactly like the original,basically, you can provide an infinite set of originals, and then the scarcity criteria gets removed from such work, and it becomes an inexpensive commodity, sometimes termed Wall Art.
It is up to the artists to be able to generate a scarcity criteria, not only by limiting the number of original prints, but also by means of interacting more in-depth with the media, mixing techniques from different crafts,etc,etc, as to be able to provide try few true originals to the market.
There is also a number of ethical and moral issues involved here, since the “sudden” presence of a new series of images from an originally closed series, printed at a different size or using another substrate, has been used as an excuse to keep profiting, while theoretically bringing down the value of the first, “original” series. See for example the case for photographer W. Eggleston, sued by a collector of his work:
Many things can be said about the actual loss of value – or not- of the original Limited Edition Series”, which turned out to be” not-so-limited”, but one thing is certain: this situation is a by-product of digital technologies redrawing the art scene.
Painting, in it’s classical definition, has not seen the same abundance of copycats, as it takes a real artist to generate a copy of some artwork which could be truly thought to be an original, and even at that, there are numerous expert museum and gallery curators, who are usually consulted when a “new” painting from a classic artist emerges in the market.
With artists like Vermeer, who painted such few original pieces, you can easily tell which works are his and which could be just a fake.
That said, a new market for art reproduction of original artwork has emerged (more wall art), as thousands of digital prints from one original painting can be sold for a few dollars.
In general, the process of transforming once-original artwork, with limited originals, into a commodity, with potentially endless copies, and how to deal with it, is still a matter of discussion in art circles, schools and museums.
The situation gets even more complicated with digitally generated art, something that has been created not in the real world, but in the world of vectors, pixels and software (read about CGI, for dramatic examples), or a mixture of analog and digital, work plus the exponential growth of Motion Works. And it still gets even worse in the universe of social media sharing, plus all digital distribution channels, those that exist now, and those that are yet to be created!
In conclusion: I have the clear sensation that  we are living the “transition-to-digital period”, where many things are yet to be re-defined,  and this process will provide the changes in attitudes and concepts that are necessary to design a new business model for the Visual Arts, both for Commercial Work and also for the Fine Arts.
Digital Technologies are barely entering our lives and the more, massive invasion is yet to come (look for The Internet of Everything), so, as it has usually been the case with disrupting technologies and trends, we still don’t know where we are going, but it will certainly be a challenging process, full of new experiences, where creativity will be, as always, the key to the solutions.
Jorge Parra