Art Imitates Life

We’ve often heard the saying “life imitates art”, but as Eric Schwortz, the creative director at Glasshouse Images puts it, “art is beginning to imitate life.”

bowling pins, old, vintage

As social media and photo sharing apps continue to gain prominence, the commercial world is embracing the DIY look popularized by sites such as Instagram and Flickr.

There is a movement towards “faux authenticity”, and special effect filters that give photos an accessible quality.


Coming off of a trend towards HDR (high dynamic range) imaging, where every pixel of the photograph is so highly sharpened that it gives an illusion of hyper reality, these highly filtered images allow for a more down to earth, old school experience.

Jai-Lee Egna, an artist’s representative at Glasshouse Assignment, correlates this aesthetic shift to what is happening in the world today. “We are looking to step away from the harsh realities of our lives, and taking a more nostalgic approach to the way we see things. We are able to use technology to emulate the look of analogue photography.”


Young photographers are not only using plugins and postproduction techniques to create images that have a vintage characteristic, they are also reverting back to shooting film, as they yearn for the simplistic look of the past.

With the photo-sharing (and over sharing) phenomenon growing in popularity, the quest for quality imagery has shifted. While the seasoned professionals in the art-buying world understand the necessity to pay photographers for their work, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to control.


Pinterest, the online content sharing service, is just one of the many vehicles in which photographer’s work is used without consent or compensation. The site does attempt to link the work back to its original source, but that does not necessarily benefit the photographer, whose images may have been used or commissioned by the brand or magazine that posted it.

This accessibility, compounded by the diminishing printed media industry, has made photography more difficult to succeed in than ever before.

What do the experts look for, when representing a photographer today?

On the assignment side, Egna says she looks for photographers with a specific niche, well-developed technical skills and an aesthetic sensibility that makes them stand out from the pack. A congenial personality and a high level of professionalism are crucial elements to success in today’s narrowing marketplace.

In selecting images for the stock library, Schwortz looks for a style that is consistent and evocative. Each photo needs to tell a story, and the lighting, composition and execution need to be flawless.

While current technology allows anyone to take a great photo, the professional photographer is able to execute a vision beyond the norm.

photos courtesy of Glasshouse Images

article published on Fashionista Cafe

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