I have gotten couple of times into a heated conversation lately about the role of a photographer: should you only produce images and leave it at that – or should you also get involved into the presentation of your images. “You moron, you just compromise yourself as photographer when you start hacking the code yourself…” is the argument I have heard more than once.
As I am very much interested in the way our media will look in the future, I naturally stand behind the argument that one should be involved all the way. Hell, if I am often not happy about the layout on a simple, white, printed page/spread, you can imagine my frustration when my images are displayed on a page which looks like Flicker from the nineties – if it did exist those days – or something of that level.
But I get the counter-argument: if you start worrying too much about the coding/computer part of rich-media production, you lose your focus as photographer. You should stick to your own field – that is, photography. Or is it?
I’m sure I’ll be addressing this issue in the future – a lot – but let me show a very simple example from last week, which I hope illustrates one aspect of this.
This is not journalistic work, this is a simple assignment done for the B-to-B -marketing of the TV network I work for. I was asked to shoot a venue – not for publication, but as a collection of “professional snapshots” for the participants who had attended. The venue was karting – by invitation only – with a special guest, F1-driver Heikki Kovalainen. Images of – and for – important VIPs and their children, something to remember this unique occasion by.
I don’t think my client had a solid plan as how to showcase the pictures when they contacted me, so I suggested I’d do a simple layout and host the material on my server. They agreed and this is what I came up with.
Very simple: several 360×180° images on the banner, a timer set so that each image is played c. 8 seconds, looping. Under the banner a flashbased slideshow of the venue highlights (c. 15 images) with X-fade thru white, and a short leading text with links to the company website (and a video of the event), a picture gallery of c. 180 images and a feedback form. Company logos etc. naturally displayed as they should be.
All done in concordance with the visual style of the invitation email they had sent – and with the visual look of the MTV3-website in general.
Now: they could have gone the easy way and just plastered the images on a HTML-page, using some readymade template – maybe even used an external service, such as Flicker – but I am happy they accepted my suggestion to do something a bit more customized.
Would my images been any better if I had not done the coding? This kind of work, I don’t think so. Did the client get more value for their money? I should definitely say so.
Was it worth for me – i.e did I get a better compensation for doing that? No, this time I didn’t – and I didn’t ask for that, either.
But, for me, the question is: will they hire me next year to do the same thing again?
I’m pretty confident they will.