It's the Photography, Stupid!
At a recent PMDA-sponsored panel discussion on the future of digital photography, panelist Jerry Grossman of Nikon made a seemingly obvious, though thoroughly insightful remark about Nikon's future in the imaging world.
"What we really can't lose sight of the fact ever is that we're a photography company," Grossman said.
While ten years ago that might have gone without saying, in this age of megapixels, memory cards and multi-frame playback, it's amazing how out of fashion the phrase has become. Do any of the big manufacturers even call themselves "photography companies" anymore? Would a Fuji, Canon, Kodak or, for that matter, a Nikon, be caught dead now without the words "imaging solutions provider" somewhere in their mission statements?
The answer to both questions is probably "no," but that takes nothing away from the importance of Grossman's statement. The point he was making, and which he elaborated on later in his remarks, was that despite all the technological advances going on in the word of digital imaging, the industry must never forget what keeps the soccer moms and dads, paparazzi and prosumers, fashion photographers and photojournalists coming back for more. It's the photography, stupid. Or as Grossman aptly put it: "They're not buying the hardware. They're buying the memories behind it."
Which brings us to National Photo Month. "When's that?" you might ask. Well, for those out there with their heads in the sand, it's happening right now. As in, this month, May. Originally designated "National Photo Week" in 1984 by Congress, it was later made into a month-long celebration. To that end, on page 17 of this issue we've published the Photo Marketing Association International's dozen different ways to celebrate National Photo Month in your store. We encourage you to take a look at the list and to consider ways not only to promote photo products, but to celebrate the experience of photography itself. I think every one would agree that without the photographic experience, there would be no products to sell.
And finally, if you're looking for proof that the power of photography is still alive and well, look no further than the recent Pulitzer Prize results. In both the "Breaking News" and "Feature" categories for photography, New York Times' photographers won the Pulitzer not just for a single photograph, but for two incredibly powerful series of photos. It's as if the judges were saying: "With so many good photos out there, how could we have settled on just one."
Photography's dead? Nah, don't believe it. Long live photography!