Thinking more about this "seeing" versus "recording" thing, I'm puzzling out what it might mean for a working photographer, someone working to put bread on the table.
As social media becomes (perceived as) more important, and as this notion of ephemeral, single-use, photos rises with it we see a curious thing. While the actual news media is firing photojournalists, we see corporate clients and individual clients increasingly wanting contemporary photos, in the sense of "relevant right now" photos, which look a bit like news. The senior wants pictures that show how cool and hot she is now. The semiconductor manufacturer wants pictures of the latest thing, and the cool new phones it's powering.
Let's imagine, oh let me just pull some crazy product out of the air, say, Crane Trucks. Let's say you had a client who built crane trucks and had you help them with their annual report. Not that they necessarily do facebook and twitter now, but if they did decide to, what would they want? They might want immediate, relevant in-this-moment photos of their crane trucks. They want their crane trucks fixing power lines after the storm, and they want them right now.
This feels like a retainer opportunity to me. For so and so dollars a month, I'm on call. You hear of your products being used in my area in a immediate, relevant-now kind of way (i.e. in a newsworthy way) call me, and I will roll out to wherever it is and shoot some professional looking stuff for you to use. You can post it to your twitter or whatever the hell, and heck, even license it to the news media. Because, it's news. Branded news. Of course, it also costs you when I get in the car. The retainer just gives you the right to call and ask me to go, and a reasonably certainty that I'll go, at my agreed-to-day rate.
Ditto the seniors. For a small monthly fee, you can stop by whenever you're having a great hair day, or whenever you've got some great new shoes. We'll do thirty minutes (at the usual session rate) and off you do to tumblr, right now.
It's about helping people see or, perhaps, be seen. It's not about recording, preserving, saving.
Also, Retainers are awesome. Monthly guaranteed cash flow, paid in advance? Sweet like honey.