So this was a pleasant surprise to wake up to and is a conversation which I felt worth saving.

FWIW, I tend to agree with John Edwin Mason in that there is something distinctly important and different about enabling people to take their own photos. I’m reminded in particular of my previous insider vs. outsider post and the comparison between Laura Heyman and Seydou Keïta and my conclusion about how the observer effect applies to photography. I truly believe that it matters who took the photo and the context in which it was taken.* And it’s impossible for the increased access to taking photos to not have made a major dent here.

*This is distinct from the moaning and groaning from the professional community about how anyone can be a photographer now. Although, the fact that that complaint has been going on for over a century shows how important the perception of the creator is.

This doesn’t mean that I deny that tintypes, ambrotypes, and cartes de visite* and their popularization of the consumption of photos is also important. Heck, issues about the consumption of photos and distinguishing the good ones from the bad ones are the most-important discussion points moving forward. It’s just that we’ve gotten to this point through following the lead of the Kodak No 1 and increasing access to the creation of photography.

*Picking just tintypes however seems a bit limited to me.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

14 thoughts on “Creation/Consumption”

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