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Since the digital revolution the number of photos taken daily has become an avalanche in the billions.

The number of bad photographs expands wildly while the number of good ones shrinks to a trickle.

The iPhone and its way of taking a photo and similarly many of the cameras manufactured  today where the screen at the back has replaced the viewfinder, almost guarantees a poor quality shot.

The Louvre in Paris with is renown collection of art from around the world, is perhaps one of the most prevalent places to see this phenomenon.

Hoards of people, armed with iPhones, compact cameras and Nikon and Canon cameras with impossibly large lens stalk the halls taking shots of the paintings on the walls or the sculptures all around.

They seem to have little understanding of the works before them. It is is like tick the box, and move on. Few seem to take the time to study the works.

The Artist

I took this shot because, despite the madness of the tourist throng, it seems to illustrate what the Louvre is really all about.

Totally oblivious to all around her this artist quietly went about her work sketching a portion of a masterpiece before her.

After taking the shot I sat at a nearby rest area for about 20 minutes resting weary legs and watching what was going on around her.

Many had a quick glance at what she was doing, others took a snap and moved on but no one took a shot with her and the painting she was studying, let alone made an attempt to frame it properly.

I am sure that many people gain much from a visit to the Louvre as I did,  but the art of taking good photographs is rapidly dying.

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Diana says:

    I agree, too many people tick off what they see and move on without any thought of what it is all about, far too snap happy

  • Matthew Turner says:

    Not sure that I agree with you completely on this one Peter. I think the ratio of bad shots to good shots is increasing (getting worse). As you hint at, putting a camera in everyone’s pocket in the form of iPhones etc has lead to a proliferation of bad photos; but everyday I see photos that amaze me. Have a look on Flickr, 500pix, smugmug etc.

    The digital revolution has enabled many access to good quality gear that they would have otherwise not been able to access. Many photos remain ho-hum, but I constantly see images that blow my mind.

    • Peter MacDonald says:

      Hi Matthew. It is good to get people’s different point of view and thanks for taking the trouble to write.
      I have looked at some of the sites you mention and there’s plenty of images there to enjoy.
      There is certainly a WOW factor in a lot of them too.
      However, if you look at most of them they are too perfect, the colours too rich. They are larger than life….they are works of graphic art.
      That’s fine too because it is the way a lot of people are using the digital world these day.
      It is just my opinion but they are not true photographs.
      If you want to appreciate and learn about photography, can I suggest you look at the masters, current and past…..Cartier-Bresson, Steve McCurry, Sebastio Salgardo, Martin Munkacsi Alfred Stieglitz, Brassai and Ansell Adams (some of my favorities)….but there are many more.
      Study their work, read about their lives and vision, learn their techniques of composition. In most cases they did not have the advantage of the digital cameras and the sophisticated computer programs we have today but their work was exceptional. It is a great journey and very enlightening.
      That’s the great thing about the internet today, there is so much to access.
      All the best

  • Dudette says:

    You have certainly captured her focus and concentration…..mainly from the angle of her head and her seated posture…beautiful photo

  • Dave Smith says:

    Hi Peter,

    This post reminded of a very similar instance of my own. I was photographing Aira Force – a waterfall in the Lake District, UK – there is a small bridge to a very small viewing platform and I wanted to use a Big Stopper to photograph the fall (of course) so had my camera on a tripod with cable release etc. Each frame took upwards of 8 minutes, the rain was pretty heavy and people came and went by the coach load, I guess maybe a hundred or more in the hour or so that I was there making a single frame. Most people came to the platform looked for only the briefest of moments took their obligatory snap and moved on all literally within a minute in most cases, a very few lingered for nearly two or even three minutes! However, I don’t agree with your implication that this is a bad thing – in times gone by those undoubtedly photographically poor snapshots would simply not have been taken, these would have been cameraless people. At least now they have there snapshot to remember the power of the Aira Force. These snaps will never see the see the printed light of day since, although there are many more snaps being taken, very very few are ever actually printed!

    Great blog btw


    • Peter MacDonald says:

      Thanks for the comment Dave. I agree that sometimes photographs, whether they be family or holiday snaps are great memories.
      People have been doing it for more than a century and it is often fascinating to look at these old photos and see the way things were back then, even if you have no association with the people in the picture.
      I was merely making an observation, probably badly, that the people I was referring to at the Lourve were not appreciating the works on the walls and that the photos they had taken of them wouldn’t mean much when they got home. However in a positive way they had all made the effort to visit this wonderful place and taken away something of its magic.