Saturday, November 28, 2015

Photos, pictures, snaps, images, digital assets?

Reading Ken Rockwell's blog the other day, he was bemoaning the increasing lack of interest in image quality from the public. I can't find the precise entry or I'd have quoted it but from memory he was commenting how disposable photography has become.

It is self evident that if everybody can do something that it becomes less interesting. As an example, writing, where years ago those that could not read or write would visit a scribe. With the advent of universal literacy, the scribe died out. Interestingly the same is now happening in photography. The ease of use of digital cameras as well as their proliferation has meant anybody with sufficient cash to buy a camera and a lens can call themselves a professional photographer. The result is that photography has become a very casual profession where anybody with a camera that wants to, can advertise photography. Sure, they might get photography work very rarely but that's fine as a semi part time job. Indeed, as the IRS allows people to make a small amount of money before declaring it, it works out just fine as a hobby that makes a shade of money.

Photography as a profession is as dead as a doornail. Photography itself has become as common as French fries. Just like writing, everybody can take photos. With the ease of taking photos, their meaning has been lost.

When every photograph had a cost. When a 36 exposure roll of film cost $8 and printing cost $12, film was used much more economically. Each roll cost $20 all told or around 80 cents a photo. Having to pay for each roll at a time made people more economical and fewer people took up photography. Compare that with today where a memory card costs little and holds many images.

With photography now having an insignificant cost, people are able to take photographs of anything without fear of wasting money. Look anywhere online and the photographs are laughable. Who in their right minds would take a photo of their dinner?

Photography has become worthless. Every time somebody takes a pointless photograph is a nail in the coffin of photography.

Already we are seeing the effects of digital imaging in that people see photographs everywhere. Photographs became wallpaper. Add to that the fact people now have the internet and thus daily access to images and photographs totally lose any meaning. It does not surprise me that peoples interest in photography has waned.

Those with longer memories will recall I advertised photography for several years and had just three bookings over those years. The last booking was a bunch of no goods that paid with a bogus check. After that I had no more bookings and ended up closing the business. Clearly digital imaging and the availability of images has killed photography.

Looking further and this links into Samsung's announcement (which might or might not be genuine since the wording is identical to their published decision to pull out of laptops in Europe) where smartphones have killed camera sales. I have to say that my smartphone takes darned good photos. They're not as technically excellent as a DSLR would produce but they're very acceptable.

I'm pretty sure that photography due to the proliferation of photos has lost its value for everybody. I'm equally sure that it's becoming so hard to sell whizz bang cameras that there's a great deal of overcapacity in the market.

I predict fewer people being interested in more than cellphone cameras and fewer people trying to make money from photography. Indeed, I predict the total death of photography as income.

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