A catchy headline I’m sure you will agree and I hope that you do not feel cheated when you realise that I have no intention of naming any photographers you need to follow whatever their age may be.
You may have arrived here thanks to the headline but don’t click away too soon. This is not a scam! The reason for this post’s existence is as a response to the countless other posts promising the ultimate list of people you should follow on Instagram, on SnapChat, on Twitter, on Google, under thirty, under twenty, under sixteen, in a particular continent etc, etc. Sometimes they deliver, other times they do not but the very fact that they define their lists in such specific ways can often make those who don’t fit those definitions feel completely disregarded.
Those who don’t fit those definitions are actually the majority of the photographer community. Those (and I include myself in this) who are working, creating, engaging with photography past their initial first flush of youth and prior to their hopeful rediscovery as an ‘important’ photographer (or ‘survivor’ as one of these once described himself to me).
Of course the reality is that it is precisely during this ‘middle’ period that so many photographers do their best work, explore their practice and engage most fully in photography as a career. As such they are exactly the people we should all be following! You may not find these people on easy to access lists but they are out there and they can be found with a little work and effort.
It’s always important to remain open to the new and to learn from the greats but on a day-to-day basis it is the thirties to seventies who are experiencing what we are experiencing and that’s got to be useful.
So make the list I hear you cry! Well of course I can’t. Why? Because there are just too many people who I would need to include. It couldn’t be done in a top twenty list, or a top one hundred list, or even a top one thousand list. However, maybe that’s just the problem with the ‘You Need To Follow’ list, they are exclusive, not inclusive, subjective not objective and at heart a catchy headline created just to get you to click it.
Grant Scott is the founder/curator of the United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer in Editorial and Advertising Photography at the University of Gloucestershire, a working photographer, and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Focal Press 2014) and The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Focal Press 2015).
© Grant Scott 2016