Monday, June 06, 2016

How things are changing...

For several years I've written about how important I felt the integration of imaging is into the broader range of electronic networked capabilities and applications.  After seeing the following video, I realize I hadn't gone far enough.

While it was easy for anyone who pays attention to such things to see the rise of cell phones as the death of traditional snapshot cameras, and while it was easy to see how pervasive real-time image sharing would become, I missed/completely overlooked the possibilities of real-time video distribution as _the_ way of sharing the intimate details of one's life.

Which seriously and deeply begs the question about future value of stand-alone stills for, well, nearly anything and everything.

For years there has been the question of where to hang all these great prints a person could make quickly, easily, and with wonderful color accuracy.  Simply, there isn't enough wall space in our homes and, perhaps more importantly for those who used to make their livings this way, not enough photographic image buyers.  Where is the demand?

I've also written about how image making has transitioned to the mode of experience sharing.  The value of an individual image quickly is lost in a sea of billions of uploaded images and videos each and every day.  Fundamentally, _how_ we as humans consume images and their relative "importance" in our lives has changed.

We seem to have changed from looking at the works of others as a form of pleasure to looking at people looking at us.  In short: I believe we are witnessing an incredible rise in narcissism.  People seem to be saying "Look! Here I am in front of the Eiffel Tower.  Look!  Here I am next some famous person.  Look!  Look!  Look at _me_!!  I'm wonderful!!!"

It seems natural, then, that if we want to see ourselves and have the world around us respond/react to who we project ourselves to be, that products will be built and sold that fill this demand.  From this perspective I agree with Mr. and Mrs Tony N and their predictions of the future.

What this means for camera manufacturers is that demand for weighty stand-alone non-networkable photography equipment will continue to decline, or dare I say collapse.  If there is sufficient demand for "professional" image making tools (for things like old-style advertising) a few of the current manufacturers may survive, though in a greatly diminished state.  

The on-line fan-boy wars over mirrorless vs DLSR will quickly become irrelevant.  The nit-picking pixel-peeping discussions over lens quality of Canon vs Nikon vs Fuji vs Sony vs Olympus will go away.

To me these are the "easy calls" on the present and near-future state of the photography markets.

What's much harder to predict is what, if any, value there will be for beautiful works of "art" in our lives.  Will there remain enough people who appreciate wonderfully crafted wet-plate collodion, or platinum palladium, or carefully crafted composited photographs that there will be a demand for such things?

I can't even imagine where we're headed.  What do you think?

Passages ~ Paris

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