Quality of Attention

I’ve been teaching photography for about 10 years now.  In that time, I’ve witnessed the transition from film-based to digital photography.


I remember the day the New York Times announced a change in the market, when digital cameras first outsold film cameras.  I remember AGFA going out of business; the restructuring of Ilford; and Kodak discontinuing many of its black and white products.


These days, working in the classroom, I often have students come to me with their new DSLR’s, and show me hundreds of photos, often with one being just like the next.  These students can make hundreds or thousands of photographs at a time, and yet they still haven’t gotten any better.

Today, I’d like to say that clarity is more important than quantity.  I’d also speculate that the incredible ease with which we can make and consume photographs (e.g. with our phones and the internet, etc…), we have a tendency to lose sight of simplicity and directedness.


I like the way Frederick Sommer spoke about the quality of attention.  That should be the real goal.


3 thoughts on “Quality of Attention

  1. I completely agree. I do photography off my phone the concentration is on capturing certain moments and atmospheres. Trying to explore the different variations off photography.

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