In the last 20 years, the digital revolution has quite literally transformed our culture in ways that we would have previously thought unimaginable. In 2012 we are now at the stage where anything is possible, this in turn has increased the opportunities for artists, writers, musicians, photographers, filmmakers and so on, to present their work to a global audience.
Thanks to the likes of Apple, Microsoft, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook et al no longer are creative individuals subject to the archaic restrictions of previous generations. For decades since the 1960's, we were told all barriers had been brought down, all previous restrictions were now gone. However, this was not the case, because despite the baby boomers hubris at changing the world, what they really did was just replace one set of restrictions for another. The creative industries in particularly were still subject to the age old system of it's not what you know, it's who you know. A person's success as a writer, artists, photographer etc, was still determined not by their talent alone, but who they knew. Of course, to a large extent this is still true, but the evolution of digital technology has been a gift from the gods in giving us the keys to the kingdom, and how we use them is up to us, as individuals.
Today, our world is far more culturally stimulating than ever before, for example, the beauty of art is now more obtainable than in previous decades. For those of us who tire of the art establishments pontificating of Banksy and Tracey Emin, we only need to search Google to find a wealth of new artists, from France to Pakistan, who are reinvigorating the lost art of beauty; we no longer need to be dictated to by the art establishment. The Pakistani artist Summaiya Jillani, whom I have previously written about, took the proverbial digital bull by the horns and launched her work onto the public via Facebook, success soon followed. Through ingenious and unique methods, artists like Summaiya are able to bypass the traditional channels and let the public decide whether they like her work or not.
Photography too has undergone a magnificent transformation in the last five years, thanks to the digital revolution. With Apple's ingenious invention Instagram, photography has become a staple part of our everyday culture, where at it had previously been the reserve of holidays and special occasions. Through the power of Instagram, those who once had a minor interest in photography have been inspired to pursue it professionally, and by galvanizing this platform they have become a source of much fascination and inspiration themselves. In a recent interview with Dazed & Confused, the acclaimed fashion photographer and founder of SHOWstudio Nick Knight said "Instagram puts me directly in contact with the very large audiences of Weibo, Twitter, Facebook, SHOWstudio, Tumblr, and Instagram. I am getting through to them all instantly, and they, in turn, have all elected to see my photographs. It's their feedback that makes it so exciting."
Speaking as a writer, I found so many doors closed to me, from the supposed egalitarian newspapers such as the Guardian to their more traditional peers the Telegraph, simply because I did not know the right people, it was not, as I had assumed, that I was an inept writer. The world of digital publications, blogging and social networking offered me a place to share my thoughts and ideas, I soon realised that my writing was something I should be proud of, because people, from across the globe were giving me the confidence to pursue my passion with renewed vigour.
Today, whether or not one finds success on the digital stage, is purely down to a person's own talent and expertise alone. If one has a true passion for something, success does not have to remain an irretrievable dream, destined to lay forever dormant.
Follow Ben Mirza on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ohmymirza