Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Grant Hendrick on Controversy at The Olympics and Where Photography’s Headed

Welcome to Snipper of the Week. Each week, we chat up a user with particularly interesting collections and post the interview here. This week, we caught up with one of our first (and most prolific) Snippers, Grant Hendrick, to talk The Olympics and photography. 

(For more Olympics glory, be sure to check out our 2012 Olympic Moments contest, running now through Closing Ceremonies).

Do you think these Olympics feel different than any other past Olympics?

Not that much has struck me as new. That’s actually one of the things I like about the Games — there are threads that have run through them since their beginnings in Greece. Even controversy like the badminton “scandal” — stuff like that’s been going on forever. In fact, I just snipped about the Men’s 400 meter controversy at the 1908 Games in my History collection. There’s always been cheating, agony and ecstasy in The Olympics.

What else do you love about The Games?

To me it’s very much about the emotions and the emotional dynamic of the athletes. I also like how it brings exposure to not-so-popular sports. How much does the general public hear about archery outside of a movie? Or badminton even? It brings exposure to these people who have dedicated huge parts of their life to this stuff and celebrates them, even if it is every four years.

Aside from all the hard work and dedication of the athletes, what about The Olympics do you think makes it so emotional? 

Even though it doesn’t stop wars or hardship, it’s about people coming together to compete in good faith. For example, in 1988, a Canadian sailor in second place stopped to save two injured Singaporean sailors who couldn’t right their sailboat. There’s so much in the way of humans coming together that people don’t see or remember. To me, that’s what makes it so emotional. 

I love your Photography and History of Photography collections. Where do you come down on Instagram?

Their influence has been huge. But it seems to me that it’s more about the ease of sharing images than about photography itself. Images are starting to play a larger role in everything, and become more and more important. And if Instagram gets purchased for a billion dollars, there is definitely a group of people who think that’s the case. And I think video is next.

Do you think tools like Instagram and the the Lytro camera are ultimately good for photography?

Well, just because you snap a picture and slap a filter on it, doesn’t mean that it’s a Pulitzer prize winner. Though I’ve seen some great things on Instagram, good photography has to be about the subject, composition and emotion.  I like the Lytro camera for that, which I snip about a lot because I’m a beta tester for them. I like the challenge of composing for a square image, and also the things you can do with depth of field and perspective. I’m excited for parallax shifting in the Lytro as well, which will come later this year. It’ll make taking pictures a little Harry Potter-like and 3D.

A lot of skeptics seem to wonder if photography should be that “easy”

When the pencil with the rubber eraser first came out, there was a huge uproar about the “decline of civilization” — people thought that weird pink blob of rubber was going to make us stupid and careless. Same thing with talking in movies.  My perspective is that there are always people who will drag their feet on an innovation no matter what the topic is.

What are your favorite collections?

I love all the photography collections. And I also like to just scroll through my subscriptions and see what I find. I like random discovery. 

You can subscribe to Grant’s collections here


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