What IS Photography Now?


As a photographer – one of those daring souls who put themselves out for all to judge in a juried show, having traipsed through mud and mire to capture the mother dragonfly in flight – I sometimes ponder the state of photography.  Case in point – Nokia Lumia 1020 is a 41-Megapixel phone.  It sells for $300.  It undoubtedly takes lovely photos.  From a phone.  Anyone catch the irony of this?

The world is moving so quickly in technology that it isn’t more than six months between “I bought a jaw dropping beauty of a camera” to “where did that new beauty come from”?   The innovation is not these days about how many pixels can be wrapped into the magnesium body, but rather how interconnected can this device be?  Can it post directly to Twitter?  Instagram?  Facebook?  Flickr?   Does it share immediately that which I have captured?  Does it have integrated editing capabilities?  Does it save me time?

The photography purists out there will cry foul every time a new hybrid device comes out.  At the same time, there are a many adventurous and terrifyingly talented photographers who embrace this change, and adopt new tools after they experiment (like the indomitable Trey Ratcliff, perhaps the pinnacle intersection of world-capturing-photographer and bleeding-edge-technologist).  And then there are the interesting challenges that every digital photographer (including those phone-only folks) deal with – the digital shoe box in the sky.  Where, how, and when are we going to edit, curate, crop, promote those lovely works of our imagination (and shutters)?  This last problem has not been adequately solved yet, but Google+, Flickr, and recently Adobe (with their creative cloud offering) are trying to do this for us.  As one of those photographers who still oohs at an emotional shot that has been worked, worked and worked in the new world darkroom called Photoshop, I for one am eager to see what this new hybrid workflow enables.

But I want it now.  I don’t want to think about it anymore.  Oh, and I want the prints and books and image wraps now too…