The digital photographic revolution: building bridges or burning them?
With the rise of the new iPhone 5 and the surge of WiFi shoot and share cameras we asked you the readers whether you thought this digital revolution was a step forward or if there was no way back.
Our multimedia writer Jade Price recently attended the IFA press event in Berlin on behalf of PP and our sister magazine Photography Monthly, where the Samsung Galaxy Camera, with smart features and WiFi sharing capabilities was announced. A range of other cameras with similar features have popped up in the last few weeks, and we've had some interesting and mixed reactions from our readers; one reader, Kazza Mcb commented, “I think it makes people lazy, but at the time we’re probably taking more pictures than ever before. I think it can probably introduce more people to the appreciation of photography.” Kazza said that she missed the days of old however, “I do miss the chemical aspect of photography though.”
Other readers were highly supportive of the digital move as one reader pointed out that Guardian reporter Dan Chung shot the entire Olympics on his iPhone. Another reader, Steve Perks explained why he appreciates the skill of the iPhone user, “There are definitely advantages - you will always have a 'camera' with you, and I've seen some wonderful images captured on them. One could argue there is a degree of skill involved to get a pleasing image, basic composition skills etc, and no Photoshopping! There are obvious disadvantages - lack of speed, abysmal performance in low light - creative use of aperture/shutter speed etc, so I won't be sweating about them taking over just yet. My passion developed out of using a very basic point and shoot, so as Kazza says, if it introduces more people to the passion, then that has to be good. (Unless all you care about is money of course.)
Others expressed their feelings that the camera isn’t important, that it’s the photographer that makes the difference between a great and a good photo, as Suzanne Galloway explained, “You’re either a good photographer or not, the camera is just the tool.” Reader Joe Purches agrees, “I think phone cameras, Instagram and all, have proved to me that it’s the person who takes the shot, not the camera. Whatever tool is used, unless you have an understanding of light and composition, the images will be the same old snaps that in the old days of 126 etc were shipped to Boots for developing. The only real difference is the way these images are quickly shared via Facebook etc.” Joe also shared his concerns for the future, “I really feel that the perception of photographers that these types of cameras are killing the industry are causing a self fulfilling prophecy. I am seeing a comeback of business from companies wanting product shoots because they have discovered that DIY with a point and shoot is not doing the job. Let’s see what happens. Mind you when all's said and done I do find it frustrating when I see my wife take a technically perfect shot with her P and S in a few seconds and it takes me ages to get to the same place!”
Taking into consideration the photographer’s skill and the iPhone’s lack of aperture/shutter speed companies have been creating new devices to give more power to the shoot and share users; JP Distribution has now released the Phocus case for the iPhone which comes with new attachable lenses such as macro, wide angle and telephoto to bring more shooting abilities to iPhone users.
So it looks as though the digital revolution of the point and shoot and the shoot and share devices aren’t stunting our photographic growth but expanding it. Photographers haven’t lost sight of the traditional values of photography, which will ultimately always hold out in the future. So let’s sit back, relax, and see where this revolution will take us next!
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