Musings on the future of photography

Pondering the future, 35,000 feet.

Friend and fellow photog Suzanne Salvo asked me to comment on an article she’s writing about the evolution of photography. I’ll try to put up a link to her piece when it’s finished. In the meantime, a few of my thoughts:


If there was ever a relationship between photography and reality it evaporated with the advent of digital photography.  Expectations about photography will change gradually as different demographic groups learn about new technology. Juries may eventually reject photography as reliable evidence, I know I would. The understanding that all photographs come with an agenda will become universal.

Thumbnail nation

Check yourself the next time you pore over a gaggle of Flickr galleries. With massive numbers of still images available for viewing, the file that gets opened is often the one rendering the coolest thumbnail. Welcome to Thumbworld.  Nuanced, wide-angle shots that must be “read” are often passed over for images that generate thumbs with clean graphics, richly saturated color and a single defined element.


The line between still and moving images will become fainter. The universal acceptance of portable devices like the iPad and Kindle coupled with continued concerns about the environment will push print farther and farther from mainstream communications. As on-screen channels displace dead tree media, multi-media content will become as portable as a copy of Life Magazine. There will always be a place for the still image…even though it may be a single frame from a video capture.


I use it on a regular basis. It’s possible to tone map a single RAW capture to create this affect so I expect this technique to become more widespread. One of the advantages still images have over moving images right now is the ability to create HDR images. I’m curious if it’s possible to create HDR video footage.


The most exciting changes are the unforeseen.  These occur when a new technology is combined with another new technology to create a previously unimaginable thing: geotagging and Google Earth come to mind, or cameras with built-in international distribution systems (cell phones). Crowd sourcing is feasible. Augmented reality is conceived.

–Keith Philpott


~ by keithphilpott on March 17, 2010.

2 Responses to “Musings on the future of photography”

  1. So true. Whoever first said “the camera doesn’t lie” didn’t know a whole lot about photography. BTW, nice shot from the airplane window. I’ve often wondered how expensive and practical it would be to put decent glass on airline windows. I know it can be done because the glass on military Humvees is clear and doesn’t distort. And, its an inch thick and bullet proof.

  2. Nice glass in the airplane would be great. Now the problem is operating “anything with an on and off switch” below 10,000 feet. It’s always something. Thanks for your comments.

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