More about convergence and circulation

Till the advent of the Internet (and browsers able to display pictures as the Mosaic) landscape photography as a form of expression was confined to specialized galleries or in the books. There were, and are still there today, some magazines specialized in the field but mostly they are/where devices for selling photographic gadgetry, ever once magazines more specialized in the photographic flesh market did publish some landscape photography too.

The advent of the Internet disclosed several opportunities to several photographers willing to display their work. But in the beginning there was a big problem. Internet connectivity was at large very slow. But the bonus was so high that photographers started publishing their work in a very small format suitable to run across low speed connections.

The main idea was that the small displayed pictures could be a key to sell printed versions of the same along with some workshops so to pay back the effort.

In the beginning (between 1996 and 2000) most of the pictures were taken with analog cameras and films. Scanners where the main device to get the pictures in a suitable digital format. Meanwhile digital cameras made their appearance and started to get less expensive at any new product round. The large diffusion of digital cameras made it relatively easy to take pictures to publish on the web, technical barriers also went down as digital cameras inherited all the automation of the previous mass cameras plus the bonus of not having the chaotic combinations due to diverse film and treatments that was the nightmare of the small print market.

As you know most of the Internet content is for free (as in beer). So the ones who started trying to sell prints remained on the usual business model consisting of selling enlarged printed versions of the published icons or on workshops, along with some incomes from advertising in various forms.

But the discovery of the potentials of user contributed content made things evolve along other new lines. Users wanted to display and exchange their pictures, evaluate or have them evaluated in a word they wanted their own images to circulate. Landscape photography sites (the ones with icons) where taken as repositories from which take inspirations or models to emulate and derive from.

Number of users become the main measure of aesthetic appreciation and user content contributed sites gave the opportunity to photographers (of whatever kind) to have their 15 minutes of notoriety as depicted by A. Wharol.

We are still at the beginning of this traumatic change in the way aesthetic values are defined and established. The first to absorb the impact are certainly the critics and the photographic magazines editors, then comes the photographers to whom it must be clear that with prints they cannot in any way compete with flikr for diffusion and circulation.

It remains to understand in which way a landscape photographer could make a living displaying for free its own work which is still made from hard and strenuous application to the matter.

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