Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Distinction Fail 24/25 - Mike Ryder

One of the great things about the internet and the advent of digital has been the increased democratization of photography. And while some may say that this really happened with the point n' shoot and the drugstore lab, or even further back with the Box Brownie, one thing that's particularly different is the extent to which photography can be shared among a broad group of friends and stranger alike.

Now, some bemoan this and see it as detrimental to photography, especially photography as a precisely practised craft. But the truth is that phtography has never really been that difficult to do. And then there are others who say we are just being overwhelmed with a tidal wave of poor images. But as I've mentioned before, look at the photo section of Ebay Collectibles (among other places) and out of the 10,000+ photos from the 1800's onwards that are on there at any one time, a very high proportion of them are just awful - even from a time when photography actually was rather more difficult to do (and probably more expensive as well). In fact, I'd venture to say that today, with the higher volume of photographs being produced and shared, the total number of really crappy pictures may be higher, but I have a feeling the actual percentage of really good ones is in fact probably higher than it's ever been.

Which brings me to Mike Ryder - he's in that latter group as far as I'm concerned - the really good ones. And that's one of the other good things about the internet. Not only can you find plenty of info about, and pictures by, Sudek or Atget or Struth or Sugimoto, but you can also come across good work by photographers which - in any other time past - you would probably never have encountered.

I came across Mike on the Streetphoto list. He has three pages of work up 1, 2 and 3 - beyond that, and that he hails from London, I don't know much more about it - other than the fact that there is definitely something there worth looking at.

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