Jeff Greenfield wrote a piece last week for the show “CBS Sunday Morning:”

“Whether on a TV screen or computer or cell phone or toaster, the fundamental things still apply (or should). A love of story-telling, a love of clear, vivid language, a respect for history – the world didn’t start five years ago, even if YouTube did – these still matter most.”

This really reached me. I decided it applied to photographers as well. Let’s re-word this.

“Wether on a camera LCD, viewfinder, portable media player, shot on digital or film, displayed on the Web or on paper, the fundamental things still apply (or should). A love of story-telling, a love of vivid imagery, a respect for and a desire to preserve history, a desire for technical excellence, a need to protect memories – still matter most. The world didn’t start five years ago, even if Flickr did.”

I am constantly amused and amazed by younger people who seem to think that photography never existed before digital or the Internet.

Time to “get on the cluetrain” as they say on Twitter – some of us sold pictures long before there were either. And when I think about the new tools – I am not threatened – I am excited. But I am worried that the current generation of photographers knows too little about the past. And further, I am worried that the current photographic generation is too consumed with gear, gadgets, web apps and software and not consumed enough with a desire to tell real, meaningful stories with a camera.

I’m not looking to pick a fight here. I am hoping to start people thinking about what is really important. The next time you grab your camera – ask yourself if there isn’t an important story you can help tell with it. Ask yourself if there isn’t some really important memory you want to preserve. Then spend at least as much time thinking about that as what tool you’ll use in post to make the picture pop.