Last month’s presentation at the Society For Photographic Education’s National Conference has generated a lot of thought on the skills tomorrow’s photographers will need to succeed. Certainly, the technological landscape will be different-digital cameras will be better, workflow software easier and the Web will be accessed from everyone’s mobile phone.
The photographer of tomorrow will need to have a deep understanding of the strengths and limitations of different publishing options (Print, Web, Mobile) and be comfortable choosing the option that best suits their (or their client’s) needs.
This will require a retooling of photographer’s skills. Instead of focusing solely on photography, tomorrow’s photographer will need the ability to pick up a video camera and edit motion footage if the shoot requires, to package the content in a compelling interface and publish to the device of her choosing.
For today’s photographers (and photo-educators) to get to this level of versatility and agility, we have to begin thinking of ourselves less as photographers and more as visual communicators. Much as a woodworker can step into his shop and select the appropriate tool for the task at hand, we need to get better and understanding how visual media is “read” by our audiences, is valued by our clients and is exploited by artists.
It sounds like a big challenge, and is. But it is going to be a fun adventure getting there.