How can CNP be relevant in this day !!!!!!

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How can CNP be relevant in this day !!!!!!

Postby Vijay Mohan Raj » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:27 am

Hi All,

At the outset my apologies for being totally inactive in the last few years. This was partly due to an intentional sabbatical from CNP because the whole landscape of image making has changed significantly and I needed time to sit back and watch how it unfolded.

I would be summarising what I have noticed in the last few years.

1. Image making has become too simple. (Implies - Photographer is not an exalted creature if not dead)
2. Majority of the image consumption on the net is on a phone
3. Majority of the content generation is also on a phone (Includes those crazy apps which can do all what a DSLR can do and much more )
4. The biggest image platform on the net is Instagram and it continues to hold
About Instagram - Celebrities dominate, so does influencers be it fitness, self-help, cooking, fashion etc.,
- Traction is more where people connect emotionally, images are just a cover to pull people in.
- Has an advantage of reaching more people across many genres and countries if the post goes viral
- Fine art photographers and creative nature photographers try to avoid instagram because of the small viewing space.
5. Across the world more wealth is being concentrated on a few individuals and these individuals are now investing in the art market including photographic prints
6. The physicality of the photograph (a print) is now a vanishing trend. If at all a print is to be made it needs to stand out on content and treatment (implies heavy manipulation in post)
7. Photographic equipment brands are quick to support photographers who stand out.

Now coming to the moot question of how CNP can be relevant
1. CNP has to navigate this new platform Instagram and it has to be internalised within the broad framework on CNP guidelines. (For eg: #creativenaturephotography should more or less owned by CNP)
Instagram of CNP exists but there should be a clear strategy on engaging this platform more aggressively. I would suggest a full team to work on the CNP-Instagram strategy.
2. My forays in the medium format digital imaging has demonstrated that there is an edge in image quality which will stand out from the crowd and so do images of CNP. We need to run our CNP images through a curator who has an eye to push images which have potential to go viral in Instagram. Elaborate writeups on the image making process is essential
3. Recently I have been attending conclaves on photography where most of the young Indian photographers congregate. The enthusiasm of these youngsters and the tenacity and perseverance to make images which are in their minds is extraordinary.
4. People are clear that single images will draw certain eyeballs but a theme based or story telling images will the hallmark in the long run
5. Finally the Art Market. CNP and its team have steered away from looking at the commercial art market. It is time to relook at this stand. I have noticed a huge change in the way how the Photographic Art Market has evolved and reiterating that few wealthy individuals have started buying photographic art big time, we need to look at the Fine Art Print market in a commercial way. I have seen the basic problem is the non-curation of the images when they are displayed, even the treatment on how they are to be displayed. I would suggest a commercial person be engaged to push for the commercial print market who will be hired from industry. He will be compensated from the commission on the sale of prints. I have always supported the stand that CNP stays away from such commercial dealings but now it is time that CNP does have an agent who will source images for a fine art market. This is crucial because I have seen a huge change in the public perception that you need to pay for good content and this changes it all. Imagine if we evolve a sub-set of CNP which is the source of great fine art prints which can be bought, there is a win-win for the photographer and the community. This is also a great way to think CNP as a startup with a commercial angle. How we allocate resources earned can be decided by the team. I am suggesting that CNP has a brand value which has got appeal and the world is now evolved to understand that a commercial angle to CNP does not belittle the forum in any manner.

regards
VMR
A creative mind is a restless soul...
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Re: How can CNP be relevant in this day !!!!!!

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:46 pm

Interesting observations, VMR.

Let me share my perspective. I think Nevil and team have their thoughts to give CNP a shape in coming years.

10 Years ago we never thought images would get consumed on cell phones. It is tilted so much towards mobile devices these days that google has revisited they page ranking algorithms and gave substantial weightage for mobile friendly websites. Towards this end we did spend some effort to make CNP mobile friendly. We are not there where we wanted to be but good enough to get an 'approval' from google search algorithms.

While it is true that people flock Instagram/FB I still think there is a place for niche platforms like CNP where discussions (when it happens) are deep rooted and genuine. We did not encourage 'pat and go' approach that we see in social networking portals like Instagram/FB. However, I agree with you that promoting CNP on Instagram and FB can potentially help CNP photographers. We did some efforts towards this. We had a FB page to which images posted on CNP would get automatically streamed to. This got broken due to Facebook making some changes to their connect API. Similarly we used to stream from CNP FB page to Instagram automatically. This also got stopped because of FB API changes. To sum up, yes there is a lot we can do to give visibility to our members. I hope we will get some time to fix these again in coming months. Nevil and team has some plans to proactively share the content on some of the social networking portals.

Coming to commercial aspect of it, sometime ago CNP team had a discussion and arrived at the constitution of CNP. The non-commercial nature of the forum was retained as is. While it may really help our members if we open the platform for commercial interests, doing it in a way which retains the cohesiveness of the forum and selfless knowledge sharing may be a challenge, as I see. That said, retaining the core proposition of "non-commercial" as is we may think of other creative ways of enabling commercial intent of members, may be through connected Instagram/FB pages etc?? Not sure how.

BTW, we did have a few knowledge sharing sessions on making photographic prints. It has been immensely useful.

Just my 2cs, would love to read more views/thoughts.
Ganesh H. Shankar
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