(Photograph copyright 2011 by Dan Routh)
We are here in 2011 and I guess it’s time to make a few comments on this blog and what it was like to be a photographer in Greensboro in 2010. Photographically for me, 2010 was really a pretty good year. I shot a lot, especially for this blog, and I shot a lot of photographs that meant something to me on a personal level. I started this blog as a marketing tool for my business, but somehow it has begun to evolve into something else. Because the economy has kept me close to home, I have shot close to home and discovered that the community around Grays Chapel is full of opportunities to produce documentary images of the places, folks and things that are here. I’ve begun to look at my neighbors more seriously and I’ve discovered there are a lot of wonderful people doing wonderful things right here. I hope to continue documenting these people and things, and I appreciate all the very kind comments I have received on many of the images I have posted. If I can make someone feel something or remember something through my images, then I have succeeded as a photographer.
On the business front, 2010 was not nearly as wonderful. I have been producing commercial photography for some 34 years, and I can honestly say that this was the worst year business-wise I have ever had. Face it, the economy sucks, especially in the Greensboro area, and many clients that I used to do work for on a regular basis have either disappeared or pulled back seriously. At the same time, prospective clients have seen that they can shop around for the lowest price and many, many folks in my profession are more than willing to work for anything, regardless of their costs or what their work is really worth. And finally, I have seen some clients just settling for less quality in general. With the rise of mediocrity in our culture, sometimes all a client wants or needs is an image, and any image will do, hence the rise in the use of low cost or no cost microstock sales.
What will 2011 bring? I honestly don’t know. I do know that things can’t keep going the way they are now for professional photographers in general and me specifically. Hopefully the economy will improve and things will start to thaw out in the advertising and editorial markets. Perhaps I will finally learn how to adapt to this changing market; believe me, I’m trying. Perhaps I will reach a crossroads and have to make a turn. That is a possibility. I do know that no matter what happens, I will continue to shoot as much as I can, because besides being a professional photographer, I am just a photographer, first and foremost.