Photography’s Past, Present and Future….

3 weeks, 2 days ago 3
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I’ve lived in Photography’s past, it’s present and hopefully will see some of it’s future. Here’s what I know.  “I’m not a prophet or a sage…. I’m just a better prognosticator because I have a base of knowledge or I believe I do!”

 

If age has taught me anything, it’s that I don’t “know” very much.  Experience gives us insight to predict what will happen based on what we already know “has” happened.

 

The history of photography has taken us from metal and glass plates, to film emulsion on celluloid and on to imaging sensors of the digital age. There has always been one thing that is common no matter the method of captue, “to capture and image!”  Remember  that, we will be coning back to it!

 

Let’s talk about what is happening to photography.  Camera and lens sales have been in a steady decline for over a decade, to the point that some camera makers are in financial distress.  Many major photo magazines have ceased publishing. Newspapers are laying off staff photographers, camera stores are disappearing, even from major cities.  ….and worst of all the average age of  “serous amateur photo hobbyists” is now about 68 years of age.  It is important at this point to define “Serious photo hobbyists”   If you are a photo hobbyist and you  have a camera bag, a tripod and one of two cameras bodies and at least three lenses you are what the market defines as a “Serious Photo Hobbyist.”  That market is aging and is not being replaced in equal numbers by the photographers in the age classes several decades younger.  The photo hobbyist class is in decline, serious decline.

 

In the last two years more photos were made than in the entire rest of the history of photography!  How can this be if the photo hobbyist is in serious decline???!!!  The vast majority of people today that make photographs, do them with a smart phone. The biggest selling accessory for photographers today is the selfy stick!  Check Amazon, they offer over 150 different models.

 

Should we be distressed?  For me, it’s sad that photography as I have known and loved it, is slowly fading away, but things change and nothing, no matter how much it is loved, lasts forever.

 

Back to the statement near the top, the point of photography is to capture an image, the shot at the top of the post was made with an iPhone!  All things change, and photography will too, but as long as we are capturing images, there will always be photogrpahy, maybe not like we enjoyed it, but the craft will live on.

 

Sure some photo hobbyists will still exist and will have access to millions of very usable used cameras and lenses and the infrastructure to continue on as more serious shooters will exist, but our numbers will be smaller.  Unless, like vinyl records, there is a big comeback!  Who knows, we can only hope!  But keep imaging, no matter what you use to do it!  The craft can, and will survive, just in a different form.

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

3 Responses

  1. Bill Rodgers says:

    Hi Bill –
    Sad, but true. Pushing 75, and starting as a portrait photographer with a major studio, felt I’d seen it all. Was always a gear junkie, but most of the camera stores have closed and we went to online shopping. Our once very expensive cameras now seem to have little resale value and no one really seems to want cameras anyway. It has become difficult to find anyone who does film developing – especially in real black and white. Almost nobody prints photos any more. Like you, I went to Fuji for size and weight, but find them on the shelf more and more as the iPhone is so convenient and available apps give us so many added features. But while I will not upgrade so frequently anymore, I will keep my cameras – all 17 -and still try to interest younger folks to try the craft.

  2. Bill, I see this in so many professions – tech and the internet have just so changed everything – book publishing, photography etc. I will say this – I still love my Nikon and use it all the time. I have a mirrorless camera that I also use – however, my Nikon, for me, is far superior, hands down. Maybe it’s just what I’m used to shooting with and have far more confidence in it. When I want to get an image of the great horned owl that visits me now and then, I pull out my Nikon and the 80-400mm. And just this morning at 3:30 am, again it was the Nikon that I used to shoot the supermoon. I have not been one to always use the iPhone as a go-to camera. To me, when I use my iPhone, it just doesn’t feel like photography. But try telling that to those who use their iPhone for photos all the time. And I too have made some beautiful images with my iPhone. But among all my cameras, I love my Nikon the most.

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