We are living through a truly visual age. 1.2 trillion photos will be uploaded in 2018 and on YouTube alone, there are 3.25 billion video views per month. Whether you are building a personal brand or promoting your business - visual content is king. Running parallel to this, there seems to be a huge divide in the visual arts industry pitting photos and video against one another - a type of creative 'Top Trumps' if you will. You're either in 'team stills' or ' team video' so god forbid you're creating photos AND videos! Like most things, the truth isn't on either extreme of the argument, I feel it's somewhere in the middle.
Photography is an incredible medium. It has the capacity to hold memories and capture incredible moments that live with people forever. Don't believe me? If anybody has lost a loved one, I'm pretty confident a photo of that person will be a treasured possession. All this in a click of a shutter button - what a gift!
“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” — Aaron Siskind
From a commercial point of view, photography is crucial too. Static imagery is always needed on websites and social media to add visual interest to brands. From the viewer’s perspective, it's also a more time efficient way to scan websites etc for information. A photograph and some written copy can work perfectly.
Sometimes, a static image is all you need.
On the other hand, video is where the numbers are at. Videos are proving to be huge for engagement and boosting brand awareness. This means that short films are becoming more and more popular. And this makes sense to me too. Watching a professionally produced short film allows the viewer to gain insight into the organisation/individual and also allows people to 'buy in' to their narrative. Doing all this in a photograph can be done, but it’s a lot easier when you have a minute or so of moving pictures and audio!
Video - Telling a visual story in a minute, rather than a hundredth of a second
So, to sum up, the choice shouldn't be a binary decision between still and moving images. There will be times when photography is needed, there will be times when videography is needed and (whisper it) there will be times when BOTH mediums are required. Not to get too deep, but in a society where apparently you need to pick a side at all times, it seems to me that visual story tellers need to adopt a more collaborative approach to one another. Of course, it's a competitive industry and it can be a real struggle to make ends meet, but having an imaginary war in an echo chamber won't help anyone.
That being said, I would definitely buy a pack of Photographer vs Videographer Top Trumps!