Cameras: “traditional photography” is certainly not dead

Hello photographer, the report of my death was an exaggeration.


Apple’s latest ad about the usefulness of their iPads got me, for some reason, thinking of cameras, photography, and articles that pop up every now and then to make ambitious statements about photography.

Another appeared recently as I’m sure many of you reading this have already met it, where another reporter decided to declare the end of the camera as we know it. However, until I see a mobile camera share the same level of technical precision with which one is able to capture the same emotional depth and clarity of their more sophisticated brethren, I don’t buy these bait items on the death of traditional photography. Traditional meaning, in this case, to use a device designed only to take photographs, not to share them.

Is photography changing? Sure. Is it becoming more accessible to anyone? Somehow, of course, the software is able to hide most of the shortcomings of cameras these days to some extent. But to declare its figurehead, the autonomous camera, dead or even starting to die is a gross exaggeration. To me, these feelings always come across as simplistic and pious attempts to make a statement about the field in general. It’s like the stories I read last year about photography getting irrelevant in the face of such good video camera stills, really?

In the early days of commercially available cameras, there was not much to distinguish those created for the general public versus professional ones. A camera was a camera, and progress was made as a whole, so big milestones like the introduction of 35mm film and smaller, easier-to-carry cameras were obviously created to broadcast. technology to a wider audience by making the process more convenient.

Over time, a dividing line began to appear between cameras designed for consumers and those designed for professionals. Cameras such as the first Olympus Pen series cameras in the 1960s or later the Minox 35 EL in the mid-1970s paved the way for modern, user-friendly point-and-shoot, which slowly but steadily grew. more and more efficient until the digital boom upset us all.

The race for the smallest or most capable and / or practical camera is nothing new, it’s history repeating itself and all the hyperbole that no one will need or want cameras other than their cell phones? It makes no sense.


In many ways the landscape today is no different than it was in 1975, only technology has changed. There will always be simple instant cameras that anyone can take and use, and there will always be some surprisingly stunning photos that come out of these streamlined little cameras. Nothing has changed here, it’s just that the act of sharing photos has changed and of course that’s no small feat.

It is not the personal satisfaction of taking photographs and sharing them with others that changes, it is the expectation of the end viewer which constantly changes as the act of sharing grows exponentially. The easier it gets, the more people we find interacting with the medium, and with mass adoption we see a lower entry point in general and therefore connoisseurs of the craft are born out of a different mindset and existing enthusiasts are trying to bend in a new way. approaching their favorite hobby or profession out of fear of being left behind.

Photography will continue to be a popular and simpler medium of communication and the tiny digital cameras attached to our smartphones will surely continue to be the main source of output, but I have this funny feeling that I am not. the only one in is not ready to throw his cameras in a shoebox at the back of his closet.

There is nothing uncomfortable or strange about coming back from vacation and realizing that the photos on your iPhone are beautiful enough for your needs. You always take the same photos, just with a smaller camera and in the process, you realize that your style and photographic voice doesn’t require any equipment beyond a point-and-shoot. There is nothing wrong with that, of course. But that’s no reason to stand on a soapbox and pretend the camera is dying. The truth is far from this assertion. It simply evolves, as it always has, and the ebb and flow of those who want creative control behind closed doors versus those who get enough creative inspiration from adding software filters will continue to fluctuate in. the weather.

Personally, for me, using a camera is not just an end. Just because it would be easier for me to shoot with my iPhone’s camera doesn’t mean I should. Photography is a force greater than style and a lens can be held accountable and all the software tricks in the world couldn’t mimic the emotional fulfillment and gratitude I have for photography in the traditional sense. The future may lie in digital dominance and that’s perfectly fine, but the tools used to creatively capture light by avid photographers can’t all boil down to a single automated click of the button.

That said, this is by no means a rejection of mobile photography or the direction in which it continues to take photography in general. I myself like to shoot my iPhone as much as the next guy and Support the technology it disseminates. The future of photography is great I’m sure and no matter what you choose to believe I cannot in good conscience just sit idly by and leave a fellow photographer wandering looking to plant flags in modern trends. trying to sell you snake oil. Not when it’s a subject that fascinates me so much. Even with a passionate mind, you can still lose sight of the sun.

Hi camera, you look good for your age! Still as capable and challenging as you ever were. Let’s go see what light we can find today.


About the Author: John Carey is a North Carolina-based photographer, writer and curator. He runs the Fifty Foot Shadows website where he shares an extensive offering of photographic wallpapers, reviews, articles on photography and technology, music suggestions and the stories behind the photographs featured on the site. You can follow it on Twitter, Instagram and Flickr. This article originally appeared here

Previous Q&A: Emma Powell discusses traditional photographic technique, new exhibit | Culture
Next A look at composition in documentary photography

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.