"We don't know who discovered the water, but we know it wasn't the fish." Marshall McLuhan.
(iii) The Visionaries
(iv) and the Fish.
If you're over 26 then you're not a fish.
I doubt many people under 26 (the Google Generation) would be here anyway and so I can them all Fish without fear of reprisal. They're the people younger than the internet and as such they're digital natives. Speaking at NYU last week, I asked again "How many people here use social media to research and develop their practice?", and as usual, my vernacular was impregnable.
Not because they didn't understand the terms, but as usual they just didn't regard their current social media habits as being the methodology by which they'd define the sustainable photographic practices of the 21st century.
It was like me telling them that they all had accents. Accents that only I could hear.
Which is kind of the point. It was too normal to point out, and for them too blindingly obvious to be an issue. This is a very circuitous way of saying that, the problem is all mine, and ours (that is, if you're not an aquatic). I can teach them craft but they're fettered by my ineffectual application of their digital reality, a traditional application just doesn't account for the huge shift in attitudes to terms like: 'access', 'value', 'free' and 'ownership'.
It's us that have to learn how their perception of the digital landscape will redefine ours.
This particular bunch of students were very lucky to have the last sort of person that I met as their Professor.
There are the those people that see this moment in history to be one of unparalleled opportunity. A real chance for Photographers to take control of their medium and their practice. The chance to define a future where they can realise the full material benefit (both economic and otherwise) by leveraging the forces of this post Digital-Renaissance ('access', 'value', 'free' and 'ownership').
They see how (in very practical terms) this can define 21st Century Journalism as a force to empower their subjects to effect positive and lasting change.
These people are the Visionaries.
And right now, they're all out fishing.