“You Are Here” is a running (5) five part series discussing a variety of contemporary philosophic questions about photography. If you missed the two entries you’re in luck.
Enjoy Part 4…
As previously mentioned in “Photographers of Inflence” (Part 2 of my “You Are Here” series) I had a challenging time coming up with photographers that were of influence when discussing the topic with some of my photographer friends. While listening to my friends talk about those that influenced them I had a flashback and remembered a photographer of influence who I had not thought about in years. This one photographer that came to mind was Bob Talbot.
Bob Talbot’s posters, cliche for some now, were an inspiration to me and quietly seeded my interest in photography as a college student. Looking back his photography resonated with me because of my interest in marine biology and my overall interest in nature & conservation. Even still I find his photography captures my imagination as much now as it did then.
So how did I forget about Bob Talbot’s masterful photography? Only in a conversation about influencing photographers did i remember his name after 12-14 years. At the time of my conversation I started to wonder what ever happened to Talbot? When I asked my friends the answer that I got was… “one hit wonder”.
The reasoning behind this comment was that the photography market at the time was all about posters. As posters lost muster in the market there was an evolution that was required of photographers to survive and somehow Talbot never adapted. I still like Bob Talbot’s work and don’t know exactly what happened between then and now, but from a photography business perspective my friends comment got me thinking about adapting.
It would seem to me that long term success in the photography industry is tied to trend awareness and flexibility. As the creator of visual media it’s critical to understand where your viewers are and making your images available in that format. It seems pretty straight forward, but it is easier said than done. The process usually requires establishing new connections in your network and developing new skills.
It’s been a few weeks since I had this conversation. In that time I’ve had a chance to think about this a little deeper. If anything the result has been that I’ll forever have “adaptation” in the back of my mind. It’s a great lesson in business, but for now it’s all about focusing on the here and now.
Oh and what has Bob Talbot been up to? After looking at his web site its apparent prints and posters are still a mainstay of his business, but he’s also ventured into video and film. It would seem he’s found success with directing and cinematography projects for major and independent films. Hopefully his independent film projects will find success. I think the world would be a better place if greater attention were given to sea mammal conservation, the core focus of his work.
Lastly how deeply rooted is my appreciation for Bob Talbot’s photography and conservation efforts? Well considering I have the California “Whale Tail” license plate that looks a lot like one of Talbot’s most famous photos I’d say it runs pretty deep. For those unaware of this license plate it supports conservation and clean up efforts of California’s beaches and coastline.
[tags]business, photography, philosophy, Talbot, Bob Talbot, sea mammal, conservation, ocean, beach, coastline, whale tail, license plate, California[/tags]