I’ve done a lot of thinking recently, about what’s next for photography.
Think about it – while the manufacturers launch new cameras every couple of months, there hasn’t been a single fundamental change in the art of photography since the mid-1960s, when through-the-lens lightmetering on SLR cameras meant that you didn’t have to have a separate light meter anymore.
So, I wonder, what’s next?
A lot of other things have happened since then, of course – flashguns have become more advanced, lenses have become sharper, and there’s that little thing called Digital. But ultimately – it’s all progression from old technology: Better flashguns are merely flashguns that have more functions and are more intelligent than old flash guns. Sharper lenses are simply, er, sharper.
Digital might be the biggest change, in that you can store hundreds – even thousands – of photos in your camera, rather than the 24 or 36 you were limited to before that, but the digital medium itself is really just a progression from capturing light on silver halide, just like we did in the days of film.
The next 50 years
If there have been no big changes in the past 50 years, then what does the next 50 hold for us photographers?
The evolution – rather than revolution – is benefiting everybody who is passionate about photography: More and better cameras are available, more cheaply than ever, and the Internet is helping photographers of all ages and skill levels to improve (through feedback sites like PhotoSIG and Deviant Art) and sell (through companies like PhotoStock Plus) their photography.
The big question in my mind – what is the next big change in photography? Gadget magazine T3 claims that the future is panoramic photography (disclaimer: I work for T3), which I can kind of see – while panoramic photography in itself isn’t anything new, next-generation technologies can make panorama taking a lot easier – and now that we have ways of showing off panoramic images in a sensible way (through, say, CleVR), perhaps that’s where the next big development will come from.
No new technology in sight
On the other hand, panoramas are just another development (and a rather small, niche subject in the world of photography) in the grander photographic world. You could argue that ‘new’ genres of photography are progress (say, the rekindled interest for macro photography and smoke photography), but ultimately, it’s just other ways of using photographic techniques that have been around for scores of years.
The only genuinely new addition to photography itself is strictly part of post-production, but high dynamic range imaging (HDR photography – read more on Wikipedia) deserves a special mention, because it uses digital darkroom techniques in combination with a novel way of using current photographic techiques to create an entirely new genre.
What do you think?
I guess I don’t have any answers – what do you think might be the future of photography? What is about to be invented, or make it mainstream, that will revolutionise photography, technically?
Or perhaps we don’t actually need any new technology: Is it time that we started getting more creative with the tech we already have available to us?
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