Photography Is Dead

30 Nov

Walking into Yankee Stadium, you are filled with excitement to see the 15-time defending World Champions on their home turf. Then, looking at your tickets, your excitement begins to fade as you realize that your seats are in section Z152, all the way in the upper deck. As you take your seats, beer in hand, you look down on what appears to be ants scurrying around on a miniature baseball field. There’s no way those are humans.

So you pull out your camera to get a closer look. You’ve never used a camera before, but you figure it can’t be too complicated, and you give it a try. There is a loud CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK, while you snap away a few pictures. Just then, people begin to laugh. Looking around, it’s quite obvious they’re laughing at you. “Must be a Boston fan!”, shouts one heckler. “Where’d you find that old piece of trash!”, yells another.

The trash they are referring to is your camera, a Canon 7D, a gigantic ancient relic that was passed down to you from your grandfather. Sure, it’s old, but you think to yourself, “18 megapixels, 8 frames per second, and it does video… it can’t be THAT bad.” But you couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Your friend Chris notices what you are doing, and jabs you in the side, “Put that thing away, you’re embarassing us.” Confused, you tuck away your camera, and Chris pulls a thin shiny tube out of his pocket.

“Now THIS is a camera. Brand new. Nikon just released it over the weekend. Check it out.” He raises the tube up to his eye, and points it down at the field, and then at you. You hold your smile, waiting for the CLICK… but it doesn’t come. Silence. “What are you waiting for? My jaw is getting sore from smiling!”

“I’m done, you idiot,” says Chris, shaking his head at you in disgust. He lowers his camera, and points it at the back of the chair in front of you, projecting a 3D video that he had just recorded. When he gets to the part of the video with you awkwardly smiling, he pauses it, zooms in on your face, and hits the “Save” button. A split-second later, your phone buzzes: a new picture from Chris. It is crystal clear, and the quality is so good that you can zoom in on the individual hairs on your head. Not that you want to see that. But now are you confused. He said he was taking pictures, but there was no shutter clicking. Then he showed you a video, but sent you a picture. What is going on here?

Here is the answer: You are in the year 2031. Photography has long been dead, and along with it the old SLR camera’s, and their bulky interchangeable lenses. The new super devices have an integrated lens that covers the entire spectrum from macro to 1000mm. And instead of shooting individual stills, it shoots a continuous stream of super high resolution  video at over 1000 frames per second. At such high quality, you are able to select single frames from the video to use as pictures. In fact, you can even create multiple pictures from a single frame, something that was unimaginable back in 2010.

Forget about the fact that you can store near-infinite amounts of data on your super camera. And forget about the fact that all batteries have finally been eliminated by Tesla’s 130-year-old theories, reducing the weight of the camera by half. All of those features are nice too, but the most important idea here is that photography as we know it today will be dead. No more trying to time the perfect shot, spending hours attempting to capture the perfect moment. Just hold up your camera, and you won’t miss a thing.

The only question is, do we really want this? Surely, most photographers shudder at the suggestion of such a future. This super device would pretty much eliminate the need for any talent in photography. However, the change is inevitable.

Just as camera phones have made basic photography accessible to the general population, so will this device make professional-looking photography accessible to amateurs and professionals alike. And so the art of photography dies a slow and quiet death, engulfed by the over-saturation of pictures that require not talent, but nothing more than a little technology.

10 Responses to “Photography Is Dead”

  1. mostlymonochrome 30 November 2010 at 14:45 #

    Great post.

  2. pause 13 January 2013 at 07:15 #

    I loved your article..and from the top to the end it’s true..!At least there are a few photographers that keep in it real..!

  3. pause 13 January 2013 at 07:30 #

    Reblogged this on Rodposse..

  4. viveka 13 January 2013 at 07:45 #

    Brilliant post … I been one of those with .. more than one camera over the shoulder and loads of lenses in the bag – it was like going on a safari to take a couple of photos or going on holiday. That was in the time when cameras was eating film – today I have a little powerful thing – and no extra lenses and it’s always in my bag where ever I go – to the supermarket or when I do my medical checkup. FREEDOM – of course there is shots I can’t do so good anymore .. and I miss my beautiful macro – but I love the freedom the camera gives me.
    So I understand that professional cameras will get smaller and more practical too. But I don’t think photography will be killed or commit suicide.

  5. lavaghlynch 13 January 2013 at 08:55 #

    Great post indeed.

  6. klrs09 13 January 2013 at 15:37 #

    Everythng you say is true. And it is sad. However, and this is a big however, only a handful of photographers have that inner eye that turns their pictures into art. I don’t think that will ever die. Great post!

  7. Brian 25 November 2013 at 12:16 #

    Although the future may be high fps video, it would need to be combined with the Lytro “change focus later” technology to really work for the amateur who just wants to run around and take video, and figure it out later. Also, taking a frames of video doesn’t replace knowledge of light and good composition to get really good photos. Some people will always have it, and others won’t.

    • Dauphín 10 February 2014 at 13:13 #

      I certainly agree with you, but it’s scary to see that technology is reaching a point where an untrained person with a camera has the tools to take professional-looking pictures.

      • Brian 12 February 2014 at 11:39 #

        Well, even if and when cameras get to the point that you can take a clean handheld shot in near darkness, even cheap cameras have a crazy high frame rates, and you autofocus gets to the point that it’s impossible to get a blurry shot, composition and lighting knowledge will still prevail to make a photo into art. That will never change. It will likely mean that $6k cameras won’t be necessary for pro level shots, but it will mean that the artistic eye will still be what separates some taking a picture, and someone creating photographic memories.

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  1. Tweets that mention Photography Is Dead | -- Topsy.com - 30 November 2010

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