Monday, April 16, 2007


Katy told me today about MoWACs. That's Moms With A Camera. This is apparently the order of events generating this phenomenon:

1. "Prosumer" digital SLR cameras become relatively affordable.

2. Said cameras are given as presents to housewives.

3. Hundreds of pictures of children are taken.

4. Clever web programmers make some great templates for fantastic looking and user-friendly flash-based photographer websites.

5. Said housewives show pictures to friends, get comments, improve their craft incrementally.

6. Housewives begin taking pictures of friends' children. Or maybe their pets.

7. Photos are posted on said fantastically easy websites.

8. Home-based child/pet photography business are born, by the thousands.

Hence a MoWAC explosion. Many professional photographers seem peeved by this phenomenon. While I can appreciate how it could be obnoxious for someone with lesser skill and training to be appropriating one's vocation, and it is definitely true in most cases that the MoWAC photos probably do not measure up to the professional standard, this seems a little bit silly. None of these people were going to blow a grand on a pro for their kids' 3rd birthday. The Wal-Mart photo studio is probably losing some business to this. Not you, Mr. Avedon.

This is happening across the creative spectrum-- things like garage band and digital cameras are making the ranks of enthusiasts (and subsequently appreciation in general) swell for music production, photography, journalism, etc. However, the people attempting to make cottage businesses out of the same enthusiasms is undercutting the lower end of the market, while simultaneously eroding professional quality at that same end. I'd still rather have a lot of interest and a little overcrowding than some kind of Pro Himalayas, high above the masses, preaching to the choir.

Will rapid prototyping and the rapid democratization of 3d rendering lead to a whole new community of prosumer architects? It's already starting to hit the world of 3d animation and motion graphics. I'd better build some cred and get licenced before the masses drag me down.

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