You hit it on the head when you mention the missing platform. In the 20th century that platform was the magazine and the newspaper. Penn, Newton, Stern, Steichen, Leibovitz, W. Eugene Smith, Avedon, Diane Arbus, Erwitt, etc all published and or were hired by magazines. In a pre Photoshop era Stern convinced Smirnoff that the driest vodka martini had to be photogrpahed in Egypt by the pyramids (with all expenses paid). That kind of advertizing platform is gone.
In the 90s when US film directors and film stars came to Vancouver I photographed them all for a local arts weekly or for the Globe & Mail. Recently the folks making a documentary on Roger Ebert wanted my photograph of Martin Scorsese for their film. I was paid 3 grand. All I had to do was to press send in Dropbox my high res scan from a 6x7 b+w negative.
A photograph I took of urbanist Jane Jacobs for those publications was requested by the Rockefeller Foundation to be used for a yearly Jane Jacobs prize. Where did they find those photographs (and others I sell here and there)? In my daily blog. I have 4600 of them and they are my platform where I am my editor (I have a few typos), art director and photographer. I publish (even though this word has been diminished) to my heart’s content and use it to push myself to keep taking photographs which I believe now are as good as the ones from my past.
Particularly in Vancouver one cannot be bitter and cite, “If only I had a platform the people would recognize how good I am.” Bitterness can destroy creativity.
Part of this problem is due to the advertising by camera manufacturers that states that with their wonder in hand all is possible. They forget about telling you you can tether it to a good studio lighting system. Once you have captured that sky and mountain reflected perfectly on a pristine lake what do you do next? Take more of them? More sunsets? More city landscapes?
I will place here a couple of blogs in which I write about two discoveries of mine and one of them is an accident. Accidents (good ones) if replicated can be a new technique. The first blog is about one of my more exciting cameras (I have a Widelux, Horizont the Russian version, a big Noblex swivel lens the one with the 7 inch long negative, etc) which is an iPhone3G without a SIM card. It is very special when mated to a low intensity modeling light and when clamped so as not to jar the camera. In the other a couple of months ago I was shooting with my Fuji X-E3 and I wanted to use my large Profoto ring flash. The cord had a short. I shot 8 exposures and nothing happened. When I downloaded the pictures there were 8 black rectangles. I was about to toast them when I decided to open them in Photoshop Levels. Low and behold there was something there! The file info told me that the exposure was at a magical sounding f-7.1, at 1/30 of a second at 200 ISO. Where did the light come from? I had been using a softbox flash and the box was close to my subject.
Sometimes working alone in isolation can be problem. Having good art directors in the past push me was a good thing.
So here I am at age 76 excited about photography and the fact that I write every day. James Ellroy told me that when he would open his computer in the morning if he changed a comma here or there that was writing. You simply had to do it every day.