If Ansel Used Instagram

What if Ansel Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson we’re on Instagram? How many likes would they have? Would Ansel have a drone? Would Henri Cartier-Bresson have followers?

Is the golden age of photography over? Are there too many photographers today?

Everyone has a camera on their cell phone – does that make everyone a photographer?

The answer is right in front of our eyes, but we have to look at what they did.


  1. Jim says

    Ted. While I can appreciate your video and your response to the question, I believe you have completely missed the point. The question in itself should tell you the mindset of the contemporary photographer. Most photographers today are obsessed with camera gear, camera accessories, and post processing software. Very few have any interest in the real art of photography.

    And while I enjoy your enthusiasm, your lack of knowledge of real design principles limits your response to the point that it drowns itself in vagueness. Henri Cartier-Bresson was only concerned with geometry and the art of photography. By understanding the principles of design, it would make my point clear. To even suggest the idea that he would care about Instagram or that he would produce videos on Youtube is somewhat premature.

    Bresson had no interest in his work once the image was taken and he never hung his photos in his home. The joy for him was capturing the “decisive moment.” While most photographers talk about the decisive moment, very few actually understand what it means. While you promote the unfounded composition rules of composition on your website, the Rule of Thirds, the Rule of Odds, the Rule of Space, etc., in actuality, they have nothing to do with real design or anything to do with Bresson’s photographs.

    To stress my point further, to say that Bresson was great because he was “of his time” comes from your lack of knowledge on his training as a draftsman. The writer that asked you the question wasn’t wrong. The 21st-century artist that draws and paints is far surpassing the contemporary photographer. Why? Because they are studying art at ateliers instead of getting their education at modern colleges. And with this atelier training comes the knowledge of classical skill-based art techniques.

    In contrast, the 21st-century photographer is getting worse. Why? Because the photographers of today lack classical art training and their understanding of skill-based design is practically non-existent. You refer to the time of Bresson as the “golden age” of photography, but again, your looking through rose colored glasses and lack critical information. The fact is, knowledge of geometry in contemporary photography is dying off because this information is not being passed down to the next generation of photographers. More importantly, real design principles are being overshadowed by all the nonsensical contemporary art composition “rules” that are promoted on hundreds of websites by photographers that have no training in real design.

    • says

      Jim, your point is well taken. However your manner of expressing it is a little harsh. If design is your thing , great, but you can say it without jumping down Ted’s throat and making judgements of what you perceive to be true. Have you had a conversation with Ted and for that matter Bresson? Or are all your assumptions from books, the web, etc. ? You just need to calm down and think how you express yourself without offending anyone.

  2. Michael Margolies says

    I always find the thought that today we have so many more photographers than in the past because people take snapshots with their phones.

    Have people forgotten the Instamatic? The 110 Kodak cameras and the 126mm pocket cameras? The disc cameras, the 33mm and 220mm cameras before that? the Polaroids, and more?

    I’ve had cameras since I was about 8 years old. Yes I shoot a lot more since I can do it with my large digital cameras or my smart-phone without the expense and time of printing but we have really just moved from stacks of photo albums and slide shows to Instagram and every other sharing sites.

    I would argue that the vastly more available exposure we have to both photography and endless free training that we have all become better photographers and that pushes those who really care to work harder and to be more creative and effective. Maybe there are technically more peolpe taking more pictures but the world is vastly more populated too and there are more places to go and easier travel than in the past too. So we have greater opportunity to learn more, do more, and document it as we feel inclined.

    Its a wonderful time to be a photographer as far as I can see.