The YouTube Aesthetic

Khoi Vinh has a short post on the YouTube Aesthetic – how television commercials are now trying to look more amateurish. 

In a few days, I’ll be set up to start scanning old slides again. I’ve finished my grandfather’s collection (well over 6,000 photos) and am about to start my father’s. Most of these photos have a lot of family value to them, but I expect to see a marked technical difference. My grandfather shot photos to record his life, as did my dad. But my father was a more technical person – he had a greater level of control over the mechanics of photography, though I’ll be interested in studying the aesthetics of his imagery.
Why do I point this out? It used to be that “amateurs” strived to create “professional” type images, whether in stills or home movies. Now, it feels that the general public has given up on exerting a higher level of control over their work and will accept whatever comes out of their cell phones. And the “professionals” are now down-grading their work to match the “user generated” content they see on web sites like YouTube and Google Video.
Is this all about content trumping control? I don’t know. If it’s a great moment, it’s a great moment and you accept the limitations of the photographer or their equipment. But when we have the option to produce high quality content and choose not to … well, that bugs me a little. 
Open to thoughts.

Mark E. Johnson

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