I used to love taking photos. My house is covered with pictures I took that people admire. But digital cameras and now smart phones have changed all that. I’ve upgraded to an iPhone 7 with its ‘great’ camera and abandoned my digital SLR, but still, I no longer love the pictures I take. Anyone can be a great photographer…and the value of photography and photos has plummeted. Can photos recover? What should I do?
Why digital cameras destroy the value of photography
Digital cameras (including those in phones) mean:
- everyone ca/does own a good camera
- everyone can take many pictures of any particular image, then choose one image from the many
- everyone can edit the picture, enhancing it in every respect (cropping, tones, colours, everything), giving the ability for even an ordinary picture to be turned into a ‘good’ image
- pictures can be shared instantaneously with many, via Facebook, Instagram and more, meaning everyone’s ‘best’ pictures can be circulated, multiplying the number and reach of all ‘best’ pictures (when was the last time you saw a ‘dud’ picture?)
Wonderful! A perfect world of millions of perfect pictures!
Problem. As all pictures are now good to great and so many are available and circulated, we have become saturated. No one wants to see those ‘unique’ travel pix any more (anyway, they have been there themselves!). The availability of great pictures…has destroyed the value of pictures.
Changing views of pictures
I noticed (duh!) that people are using smart phones now instead of digital SLRs, so I decided I’d try to join them (you…). But it’s not working for me. Here’s why:
- phone pics are mainly about people and close ups (food, faces, animals, posed shots, private parts). I like landscapes, impromptus, unique shots.
- editing of phone pics occurs after the shot has been chosen, from many similar shots. I still think about the shot and frame the shot before I shoot. This takes time. The moment is gone. I miss impromptus that others now get.
- phone pics are edited almost immediately (same day at latest) and are then sent to others or at least shown to friends. I still take the shot and have no plans for it, apart from my own personal viewing at some later time, or perhaps compiling it into an album for historical records (These days people ascribe no value to future showings. It is all about NOW).
So, despite having the latest technology, I don’t get the best shots and I don’t think in the way required to make best use of the technology. Worse, there are now so many great shots, what’s the point of trying to compete? Others take shots and send them to me!
Can photos recover?
Technology has advanced further, even as I write. Photos are virtually out of date. Now video is required. This trip I’m sending videos to my 2yo grandchildren…and they love them, despite their amateurism! But my 11yo grandchild has already produced her own video (which I feature in as a clown…)…
Whatever we think of new technology, one thing is certain – it won’t go backwards. You may not like FB, Instagram and their replacements, they may have bad effects, but the world loves them, so best get aboard.
We’ll always like great photos, but their permanence will make them seem dated in the future. They are great for today but are stale tomorrow. People will want to see new photos, new videos, as our ability to concentrate for any length becomes shorter and shorter. And if I want to remain up to date with the grandkids, the future and you, I better get with the program… Can anyone teach me??