The photographic future

2006-09-04

in Daily updates, Photography

Trees in Wadham College

I had an odd philosophical post written, but it was far better to blast it to some obscure part of the RAM of this computer, to be utterly erased when I next reboot it, than to put it online somewhere. Instead, I should write about photography.

On the basis of some books I have read, it seems reasonable to conclude that photography did not emerge too long before the start of the 20th century. To begin with, it was an awkward, delicate sort of thing to do. You needed lots of black velvet cloth, heavy glass plates, finicky chemicals, and expertise. Over the next seventy or eighty years, photography went from something that a British Lord might do as a hobby to something that people all over the world did all the time. Where once the coronation of a Queen might be worth photographing, suddenly the first steps of every child were, if someone had a camera handy. I personally salute Alfred Stieglitz as perhaps the most important single person in the establishment of photography as an art form. Of course, if he hadn’t done so, it would have been someone else. I suspect they would not have done so as elegantly. At least a few of my photos are direct ripoffs of Stieglitz.

With the advent of digital sensors and – perhaps more importantly – the internet, further democratization has taken place. When the cost of photography is reduced to the bother involved in pushing a button or two, transferring a file to a computer, and then moving the same onto someone else’s website there is really very little reason not to do a great deal of it. Very soon, the biggest associated cost becomes time.

I hope I get a digital camera, eventually, which is comparable to my best film camera in terms of versatility, ease of use, and quality of output.

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