PetaPixel

Of Cameras: ‘Traditional Photography’ is Most Certainly Not Dead

The end of the camera as we know it? I think not.

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

Yours,
Camera


The latest ad from Apple about the usefulness of their iPads got me thinking, for whatever reason, about cameras, photography, and articles that pop up from time to time to declare ambitious statements about photography.

Another has popped up recently as I’m sure many of you reading have already come across, where another journalist 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 brothers, I am not buying into these baitish articles about how traditional photography is dead. Traditional meaning, in this case, using a device designed only to make photographs, not share them.

Is photography evolving? Sure. Is it becoming more accessible to anyone? In a way, of course, software is able to gloss over most any cameras shortcomings these days to some degree. But to declare its figurehead, the stand-alone camera, dead or even starting to die is a gross over-exaggeration. To me, these sentiments always come across as oversimplified, wishful attempts at making a statement about the field in general. It’s like stories I read last year about still photography becoming irrelevant in the face of such capable video camera stills, really?

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

As time went on a dividing line started to appear between cameras made for consumers versus those designed for professionals. Cameras such as the first Olympus Pen series cameras in the 60s or later the Minox 35 EL in the mid 70’s paved the way for the modern consumer-friendly point-and-shoot, which slowly but surely became more and more capable until the boom of digital swept us all off our feet.

The race for the smallest or most capable and/or convenient camera is nothing new, it’s history repeating itself and all the hyperbole about how no one will need or want any cameras other than their mobile phones? It’s nonsense.

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In many ways, the landscape today is no different than it was in 1975, only the technology has changed. There will always be the simple, snapshot cameras that anyone can pick up and use and there will always be surprisingly great photos that come out of those simplified little cameras. Nothing has changed here, it’s just that the act of sharing the photos has changed and of course that is no small matter.

It’s not the personal satisfaction of making photographs and sharing them with others that is changing, it’s the expectation of the end viewer that is constantly shifting as the act of sharing grows exponentially. The easier it becomes, the more people we find interacting with the medium, and with mass adoption we see a lower point of entry in general and thus connoisseurs of the craft are born of a different mindset and existing hobbyists attempt to fold into a new way of approaching their favorite hobby or profession in fear of being left behind.

Photography will continue to be a popular and increasingly simple way to communicate and tiny digital cameras attached to our smartphones will surely continue to grow as the dominant source of output, but I have this funny feeling that I’m not the only one out there who isn’t ready to toss their cameras into a shoebox in the back of their closet.

There is nothing uncomfortable or strange about getting back from a vacation and realizing your iPhone photos are looking good enough for your needs. You’re still taking the same photos, just with a smaller camera and in the process realizing your style and photographic voice doesn’t require any gear beyond a point-and-shoot. There is nothing wrong with that, obviously. But it is no reason to get on a soap box and claim the camera is dying. The truth is far from this claim. It is simply evolving, as it always has, and the ebb and flow of those who want creative control in camera vs those who get enough creative inspiration from adding software filters will continue to fluctuate in time.

Personally speaking, using a camera is not simply a means to reach an end for me. Just because it would be easier for me to shoot using my iPhone’s camera doesn’t mean that I should. Photography is a force larger than one style and one lens can be held responsible for and all the software tricks in the world could not mimic the emotional fulfillment and gratitude I have for photography in a traditional sense. The future may lie with a digital dominance and that is perfectly fine, but the tools used to capture light in a creative way by passionate photographers can not all boil down into one automated click of the button.

That said, this is by no means a dismissal of mobile photography or the direction it is continuing to take photography in general. I myself love shooting around with my iPhone as much as the next guy and support the technology that it propagates. The future of photography is great, I’m positive of that and no matter what you choose to believe I can’t in good conscience stand by and let a fellow wandering photographer looking to plant flags in modern trends try to sell you snake oil. Not when it’s a subject I am so passionate about. Even with a passionate mind one can still manage to lose sight of the sun.


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

Best,
John


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


 
  • Jonski

    If traditional photography is dead, then my relationship with my Canon 70D must be necrophilia. The images I create on my phones, with their weird colour balances, their *very* laggy shutters, their limited ability to crop, their narrow aperture, the lack of real zoom (in or out), inability to shoot RAW, low frame rate… need I go on? I can create a tasty PBJ sandwich on my knee, using my finger as a knife but if I wish to have a dinner party I need a properly equipped kitchen.

  • Dante

    This is the most brilliant thing I’ve heard all week.

  • http://www.scrappersworkshop.com Jennifer White

    the 16 people with their brand-spankin-new DSLRs who will show up at my Basic Photography class tonight are surely evidence of this. In a world of cell phone cameras, they’ve each invested significant funds in a camera and now significant time with me learning how to use it. Just like fast food didn’t mean the end of fine dining, there is room for all kinds of photography, even if we eat more fast food than fine dining these days.

  • jones

    hey, if cameras were dead, and canon 70d was necrophilia, then what would you call my analog film lab for any film 135, 120, 4×5, 8×10 etc.? :) Camera is fine, film is fine, and getting better.

  • Jack McKechnie

    I think Photography as I like to remember it died with the first snap of a digital camera. The cameras do not really last that long and when they do they are inappropriate or not professional any more. People have turned more to the iphone or some other hybrid for self gratification and the wonderful world of sharing has cheapened the product to a place where everyone thinks you ought to do it for free. The only advantage that I currently see is that post processing has become less expensive and more exciting because of what you can do to an image but that is about it. Personally I’m shooting now mostly with my Olympus EP-2 and my film era Nikon F2 and share the old 1060′s and 70′s glass between the two for somewhat of a reconnection. I think that when it comes to a point where film disappears and you have to take your images on a mobile phone..i’ll take up painting and say to Hell with it!

  • Jonski

    I still have a Rolliflex that gets an occasional airing. It’s a thing of beauty, but my relationship with that is not necrophilia but paleolithography!

  • LargeFormatUniversity

    I use large wooden cameras. The end stae is to produe a fine presentation print. I have both a phone with a camera and a point and shoot digital, the end stae for theses images are facebook or as email attachments so for me the two meet somewhat unrelated needs.

  • Guest

    Truth has been told.

  • Dylan Roberts

    True… its not dead, its just dying(down)… slowly.. and unfortunately. I don’t think it’ll die completely because it such a respected form of image making, and will forever be in demand by consumers and wealthy people for portraits.

  • matpratta

    Truth has been told.
    That’s the way I’ve been thinking since when I decided I should get a serious DSLR for my images (back then I only had an advanced P&S, with some manual exposure controls only)…
    After all, nice to see people still have interest in spending time composing and preparing your shot, instead of just pointing a phone/tablet to something and touching a button…

  • volk65

    What the hell is “stae”?

  • Jonski

    Another way to think of this: Consider the colour gamut of visible light. What you can see, what you can photograph and what you can print. Different processes can render only a subsection of the entire gamut.
    Now, consider the multi-dimensional gamut of what all photography can capture, some of the dimensions I have mentioned above. A phone will only ever capture a subset of this. What the author of Goodbye, Cameras is saying is that, because the subset of photography achievable with a phone is expanding, it will eventually consume the superset. He neglects to observe that both the superset gamut itself is expanding, and that there are existing sections of the superset that can only be achieved with a ‘proper’ camera (usually a DSLR). These sections are large and have a popular following.
    Phones may photograph a lot of things, and may even do well for some applications, but throwing away your DSLR is very, very premature.

  • johnmeadows

    As someone who grew up with film (and still shoots primarily film although I do shoot some digital as well, as well as iPhone) it seems a bit ironic to see this kind of article, saying the “traditional” digital camera is not dead; I reminded of “film is not dead” articles :-)

  • jones

    I don’t thing it’s dying. I have more and more people asking to have their first ever film processed. I just switched back to using film for commercial shoots, weddings, some fashion. The nikon d700 and d800 are great, but people want more. I hadn’t done a single wedding this year where I wasn’t asked to bring my mamiya afd and rz to the event. I think it’s going to be a niche, but just like solid wood handmade furniture is now – not everyone can get a houseful of them, but loads of people get some bits and bobs even if just once or twice in their life, to keep them. And quality is good niche to be in ;)

  • Felipe_Paredes

    Even if one day the phones outperform cameras, I will still use my cameras, I still use my FED II, and my Nikon FM

  • Brian Todd

    What!? Cameras don’t last long??? What crap are you buying? The cameras that are meant to last…5DIII, 1DX, D4, D700, are nearly bullet-proof. And how can a camera be inappropriate? As for cheapening, I’m sorry you feel that there is only type of photography – one with good film cameras, and slow processing. You are in for terrible ride the rest of your life.

  • Brian Todd

    Photography, in it’s purist sense, will never die. People will always want photographs, whether in print or in digital, of certain events. There are far more photographs being taken now than ever, due to these mediums such as cell phones that allow instant gratification where precision is not necessary. Cell phones, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, have all only enhanced the general population’s interest in photos. We have all seen Canon and Nikon drastically reduce their DSLR forecasts going forward. This is not due to lack of interest in photography, but due to lack of interest in that format.

    Many people have purchased DSLRs in the past 10 years, because they wanted to take better photos. Many of those people realized that what they bought was equal to, or often times way more, than they needed. They have no need or desire to upgrade at the rate technology has advanced. Only the pros and people with money to burn will continue to buy the latest product. Camera manufacturers outdid themselves. There is also the quickly advancing mirror less camera market, which is growing faster than the DSLR market. People can have pro level sensors and processing with much less size and weight. Even the viewfinders are quickly advancing. And yes, then there is the smartphones that take better and better photos. People that used to buy the lower end digital point and shoot cameras and DSLRs now aren’t buying them, because their phone is “good enough”.

    Then there is the 4k video market, which could conceivably take DSLR level frames, and people could just pull those for photos. That still won’t kill video. The problem is people still need to be experts in lighting, posing and composition. 4k video frame pulling is like the “spray and pray” style of photography. That works better for sports, but not for landscapes, cityscapes, portrait, wedding, etc. I can’t imagine any photographer setting up a video camera and then telling their people to pose, then having to look through 100 photos to see if they got the shot they want. Setting up one pose, one shot, and taking the shot means I have one shot to look at and see if I got it.

    Photography will never be dead. It will change and evolve; the difference between high end and entry level will change; but photography will never die. Photographers just need to keep up, keep finding their niche. The average person make have a phone that can take a great photo by their standards, but the physics of lenses will never change. That person doesn’t want a 2 pound lens to carry around. They don’t want to wake up at 4 a.m. to get that sunrise photo. They don’t want to camp out in the wilderness to catch that eagle. Photography will always be needed for weddings and portraits.

    Keep up the good work photogs.

  • Beaugrand_RTMC

    What i do for money is commerce, what I do for fun is “art.” When I’m making images for my business, I use a very capable DSLR or “bridge” digital camera; for sheer enjoyment I use a film camera, usually a 35mm SLR, but the cameras I carry most are my cellphone and my 16mp compact digital camera. Let’s put it this way, if I’m there when the saucer comes to land on the White House lawn, I’ll probably be using my cellphone to take pictures of Klaatu and Gort.

  • http://www.fiftyfootshadows.net/ fiftyfootshadows

    Same here, its weird for me too! My intention wasn’t to explicitly call out digital cameras but any camera with a traditional set of controls, whether that be a digital sensor or a frame of film. I never thought in my lifetime I would have to defend the camera as an artistic tool.

  • johnmeadows

    To me the only two things that matter are results and the experience: am I happy with the image, and (since I am happily an amateur) did I have fun making the image? If the answers are yes and yes then the camera doesn’t matter :-)

    Of course manufacturers such as Apple want to keep selling new gear, and step one is convincing people that their current gear is worthless . . .:-)

  • Chris Rogers

    Noope film is not dead. I have actually started shooting film. It’s a lot of fun!

  • Bingo

    Dead generally implies finality, or complete destruction. Photography is not dead as such, It is merely in a coma that it will never wake up from.

  • Renato Murakami

    Traditional photography or professional photography will never die, as long as people are interested in photography and still images, period.
    People shouldn’t pay attention to media made hyperboles, headlines and overstatements, because they are made to catch your eyes.
    This isn’t exclusive to photography, and has been made over and over again just to cause such reactions.
    If we were to take such things seriously, radio would be dead, TVs, laptops, desktops, and so on.
    But I’ll perhaps half disagree with John in a point: in the future, and I mean a probably still distant future, the stand alone dedicated camera might fade away. And I’m saying as distance as the early proclamations that “the printed press is dead”.
    See that alarmists proclaimed that years ago, and even though it did weaken, it’s still has a long way to go.
    But let’s not discuss the factors of cultural changes, technological advancements, and the rhythm that society accepts certain types of changes to mediums that have a long history of stability.
    Because in the end, it doesn’t matter if the tool/gadget changes, what matters in photography is the interest of people in seeing and appreciating still images, and the interest of people in capturing them.
    Whether you’re going to do it with a device that also make phone calls (and much more these days) or not, is pointless. As long as the tool produces the expected results, that’s all that matters.
    There’s the argument then that following the history of several tools out there, the dedicated ones seems to always fair better than ones not designed specifically for the trade. This in itself is a good argument for countering the claims of death of them.
    This is a design problem oftenly discussed. Sometimes it’s just better to have a tool that does exactly what you want and only that.
    And then, we’re trying to cover too much ground here. It’s a battle of semantics, and oversimplification of a concept.
    What is “traditional photography”? See that we’d need a fairly huge jump in technology still to make one camera that attends what all photographers needs. Let alone a smartphone that can also do it. Photography has too many branches, types and styles.
    It’s hard to make one device attends all types of photography with all needs in one package alone, specially because they tend to conflict with one another.
    Then again, if we’re to turn this around by saying that cameras for casual non-professional photography might be dying, then the idea becomes stronger. In the point ‘n shoot sense where convenience and ease of use for non professional cases tramples over technicalities, smartphones are quickly gaining the upper hand. And it’ll soon reach not only the “good enough” status, but surpass it – enough for prints, enough for good pictures in low light.
    I don’t think it’ll ever completely die, because there will always be people out there with different tastes to try other ways of getting their results – even if they are considered by the mainstream market to be “outdated”.
    See that in the age of digital music we have people who’d gladly trade an MP3 player for a record player. We still have lots of people who will swear by a valve amplifier than modern digital ones.
    Film nowadays still have a very faithful following.
    And you don’t necessarily need to be a professional for it.
    That’s true to most artforms because art isn’t defined by technical specifications alone.
    It isn’t by chance that lots of people would rather appreciate a photo taken on film using some of the oldest techniques of capturing and revealing it on tin, plate or whatever than a huge gigapixel image taken by a drone or something, displayed in a 4K TV.

  • David Hovgaard

    Pyro developers and large format film cameras blow the iPad and every other dslr away when it comes to detail and ascetic freedom.

  • Sundra Tanakoh

    Well said.

  • Sundra Tanakoh

    I think you need to come into the next century there buddy. I grew up in film, I shot 8×10 Deardorffs. I shoot with a D800 now. At no time in the last 45+ years I have ever had better cameras and more control over my images as I do today. Tell me, where is Kodachrome? Where can you get it developed? NO WHERE! Why would you not use the tools available to you today to advance your art/photography? That 1960s and 70′s glass may be useful on old film or digital sensors that are subpar today, but they darn sure are crap on my D800. I have that old Nikon glass also, but I moved with the times/technology and got BETTER optics, upgraded my computers and added more RAM and HD space as we are now our own darkrooms…..fun stuff. Photography is only dead if you keep your feet in the graveyard of the past, longing for the good old days of chemicals. The year is 2014 incase you haven’t noticed.

  • Sundra Tanakoh

    It is known.

  • Anu Muller-O’Neill

    Of course a professional level digital camera is meant to last long, look at the damn price tag. What I think Jack means is that digital cameras are forever changing, and the technology within will be replaced in a few years by a new body. This is also mirrored by many other corporations and companies, for instance, computers are not built to last for a lifetime, they are built to last for a while so that when a new computer comes out, with improved hardware, specs etc., the user will want to buy it, and therefore replacing their previous model. You are seriously not one to judge if, for example, a 5D Mk 3 will last for thirty years, after regular use, simply because it was only released in March 2012.

  • kotaro_14

    True, true. Though the Nokia Lumia 1020 and 1520 can shoot DNG now and the results are actually quite spectacular taking in account how big/small the sensor is. And a lot of phones can do 10+ FPS burst no problem.

  • Brian Todd

    Anu, I was listening right up until you said, “You are seriously not one to judge…” Rude behavior gets you no respect. With that logic, no one here has an opinion about the quality of any digital camera. Canon and Nikon (and others for that matter) have made their pro level digital bodies off of tried and proven designs they have had for decades. Wanna pick on someone? Please explain “inappropriate” and “not professional” in Jack’s post above. The D4 and 1DX bodies are made of design that’s been around forever. Please keep it respectful next time.

  • Thomas Kryton

    When the camera was introduced everyone declared that painting was dead. Yet the physical arts continue to thrive. Drawing, painting, printing, and more have gone from common commodity to the role of fine art. The same evolution has happened to photography and will continue for some time yet. If there is one truism to come out of the visual arts it will continue to evolve as it has over the last thousand years from the post-modern to whatever term art historians will name this passage. The distinction a hundred years from now will be what work survives and is recognized as worth keeping and discussing. It’s not the tool that makes the work – it’s the individual wielding that tool. Having said that I still have my first 35 mm camera a Canon FTB, now sadly relegated to the shoebox in the closet, since I bought it new forty years ago. I miss the elegance of film on occasion, much the same as I miss the feel of brush on canvas or graphite on paper, but I still make work and will evolve my work to take advantage of what is available and suits my needs at the time. Currently that’s my DSLR but that may change. There will always be a niche for each medium that we evolve along the way for both visual artists and consumers of that art, case in point being glass prints and cyanotype. One day we’ll have another author proclaim that digital is dead and we’ve moved on to the next technology or technique and this argument will still be around.

  • Beaugrand_RTMC

    I have approximately 250 film cameras (I have most of the film cameras I have ever owned; plus I’ve picked up a few in the past few years; I began collecting in earnest when the mass migration from film to digital took place over a decade ago). A decade ago, it was simply a matter of taking my exposed film to a local lab for developing, then scanning the negatives with my flatbed scanner. The local labs quit doing B&W a few years ago, but that’s okay, I just switched to C-41 “color process” B&W; a little more expensive, but the local labs could handle it. Now, most of the local “photo labs” simply pull the images from your camera’s memory card and print them out for you, or save them to CD. I know of a couple of mail order labs that will do “develop only,” but it takes a week to get my negatives. I’m being inexorably pushed into developing my own film. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to remain so committed to film.

    What I would like to see is a desktop film processor, a further miniaturized version of the “minilabs” used in retail stores for the past decades, similar in size to a present-day “all-in-one” scanner/copier/printer; and/or a kit to convert film cameras to digital; a sort of “digital film,” similar in form to the “Instamatic” and “Pocket Instamatic” cartridges of the ’60s and ’70s. Both are technically feasible, I doubt economies of scale (lack of customers) would justify the R&D: unless it’s an open-source, or crowdfunded project.

  • Beaugrand_RTMC

    Another thought before I retire for the night: I use an Eye-Fi card in my digital cameras; my day’s shooting is automatically transferred to my PC as soon as I’m in range of my wireless network (something like 30 feet). The only things my camera lacks that my cellphone (which is NOT a smartphone) has, are the ability to send text messages and make phone calls. The 3-1/2″ LCD screen on the back of my DSLR could easily be swapped for a smartphone-like touchscreen, the camera already has a mic for picking up sounds and a speaker for playing sounds back; or bluetooth functionality comes to mind for making those calls. If camera manufacturers want to stay in the game, they just need to invest in a few more microchips.

  • Ben McCain

    Any smartphone cannot even hold a candle in the same room, house, or country against my 30 year old Hasselblad and even older 5×7 view camera. We desire a need to rush to the result rather than enjoy the actual making of the photograph. Admittedly I do use my iphone for a number of photographic uses, but it is not by any means a device or tool for making serious photographs. With a film camera every single decision I make effects the outcome. What aperture I want, What shutter speed, which kind of film, What do I want in focus and out of focus. Real photography requires an instrument that is an extension of your body and your eye, not just something that you point in a general direction, click a button, and hope it turns out successful.

  • Martin Nilsson

    I’m also sure that with the advance of technology the price of large/medium format cameras such as the Phase One will go down. And when you can get one of those for less then or equal to a Canon 5DmIII or a Nikon D800, the semi-pros and pros will most likely move towards these. If it suits their style of photography. And photography will change and evolve once again. Who knows what the market will look in 10-15 years =)

  • Jack McKechnie

    Brian..Anu was right on the money and (she) was not being rude. Some of the first DSLR’s had 2.5 or 5 mega pixels and cost four or five thousand dollars and how many of them are being used today?????.Your D4 that you paid 6,000 dollars for will go the same way and will be considered an antique in the future. Canon has a huge history of dumping a certain lens that they use and then they leave their customers out there to buy new equipment. They did that twice in the film years. Higher end electronics lose their technical advantage and then you have to replace them to be considered professional . My old F2 was made in the early 70′s and still very good today….Your digital won’t last that long. Every time a newer model comes out Ebay looks like a camera store the way people are trying to sell the previous model. I use digital like my Olympus mirrorless EP2 and for digital it’s a nice camera but there is also now the EP3, EP5, EM5 and now the EM1. All the camera companies happen to be feel the pain right now with people using IPhones instead of a DSLR. Grab an old film camera sometime and shoot a role of Ektar 100 and see if you don’t like it better.You know as for using an ole Nikon F2 film camera well I’m 58 now so I would rather ride an old Porsche than a hybrid SUV if you know what I mean…

  • judogoldenboy

    Well said. Taking a good photo isn’t a problem anymore – the phones themselves are so easy to use. Just click and go – it’s the best that I can text, chat, and snap away all at the same time. The photos looks great on the high resolution display making books is just an absolute past. Real photography is going strong!

  • Jack McKechnie

    Thank you Anu!

  • Erwin

    Ive done my MA thesis on the subject, in short my conclusion was;
    We live in an information/knowledge society. In my opinion, the photography market should be seen as a social construct designed by photographers and their consumers. One among several changes, is the prosumption movement, which enriched the possibility of producing goods of your own and also producing these goods for others. Goods in this case being photos. This led to the prosumer entering the photography market and unconsciously adding to it. The prosumer affected the meaning structures of the market because he/she has a different view on the market. The most profound change in meaning structures can be presented in shaping the meaning structure of payment/price, professionalism/quality, equipment importance and competition. The market is not dead, it is changing and these changes might be affecting a wedding photographer more than, say, a fashion photographer.

  • Burnt Umber

    Cellphones are the Polaroids & Instamatics of the 1970′s

  • Vin Weathermon

    Photography is not dead; it is alive for many more than ever and it is exponentially more popular. However, the value of the resulting imagery is the diminishing factor as we are numbed by the firehose of images we can’t possibly spend time appreciating. Those that spent many years and practice constantly will be rewarded far less for their work. We now just do it as a labor of love.

  • Brian Todd

    Jack, I get what you mean. To each their own. Just because there are fast advancements in digital compared with film, doesn’t make it wrong. There just weren’t as many advancements to be made in film. I don’t believe most pros buy the newest model to “look like a pro”, but because they want the latest and greatest. That’s a choice. If I showed up to a shoot with a D1, any average client wouldn’t know it was a 15 year old camera. The body still looks like the D4 today, or even the F5 (except no LCD display). I personally don’t shoot film much anymore, but I hope it doesn’t go away. I can certainly see why people enjoy it.

  • David Vaughn

    In my experience, and that is limited since I’ve only been shooting at most 5 years (and only seriously for about 3-4), digital, after all the fascination with more megapixels, bigger sensors, and higher quality lenses wear off, it seems…a bit empty. All the technological advances makes me focus more on the technical aspects to an almost neurotic degree. “Omg, is this in complete focus? Did I get as much dynamic range in this shot as possible *hyperventilate*” While this is good to a point, it makes me disregard the art of photography. I begin showing off my photos that are super sharp with nice lighting blah blah, but they’re usually devoid of the kind of emotion I really want to convey, because I’m so worried that I’m not using this amazing technology to its fullest EVERY time.

    That’s why I’ve recently bought a 4×5 large format camera and Ilford 4×5 film. I want to feel that sense of intrigue and wonder that I felt when I first began taking photos. I began with a P&S, and the MANY limitations of that camera made me feel at ease because I knew what they were. I could focus on the creative side of photography.

    The seemingly limitless combinations of technical components (f-stops, shutter speeds, focal lengths, lighting schemes) overwhelms me.

    So, as a young person of the digital age, I have to say that all that control means nothing if you don’t know how to harness it, and the pressure to learn how to harness it (“You have an amazing camera, To be competent you should know how to do “x” thing) can make a person lose their creative spark.

    I hope this makes sense – maybe I’m just blowing smoke. :/

  • dll

    stage?

  • Sundra Tanakoh

    Dave, don’t focus on all the technical aspects. At first it might be a little hard, but just shoot like you were shooting a film camera. The process is still the same. Let the little computer in the camera do it’s little thing, all you have to worry about is composition/lighting. There is no harnessing of anything other than putting a harness on your wallet so that you don’t get GAS, (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). Don’t ever let anyone tell you your camera is too good for you, if you can read, you can learn, if you can shoot and see your result, you can learn. There is no magic or mystery other than your imagination and the limitations you place on yourself. Really, the hardest part is to master the digital post processing software and transferring YOUR vision through that software to a final product. And most of all, just remember, you will never stop learning.

  • Sundra Tanakoh

    Just because technology is replaced doesn’t mean a photo is any better. If it sucks on film it will suck in digital. for example, too often people are worried about frames per second. I seem to remember shooting high school football with a Busch Pressman, back then timing was everything, we still got the shots, even if we had to take out the film back and reverse it for the next shot .. it was more like one frame every 15 seconds if you had fast hands and a good assistant. And that digital camera has a shutter life of maybe 150,000, if you shoot 10,000 shots a year that is still 15 years, adjust accordingly to your style, often those maximum cycles are under rated. I have 400,000 on my D300s and it still cranks out just fine. I know I am not the only one. On the other hand I wore out 3 Asahi Pentax Spotmatics, shooting until they had to be rebuilt or just by another one. We all have different perspectives it seems….

  • Sundra Tanakoh

    Exactly! Look at the photo at the top of this article, no way that was a P&S or phone shot. You only get that DOF control on a camera that YOU control be it film or digital SLR (and maybe one of the newer mirrorless).

  • Joana

    :D brilliant comment! i absolutely agree

  • Chris Egan

    As long as I know how to shoot, develop and print photography will live on!