No Country for Photographer or How to survive the end of photography

August 29, 2015  •  3 Comments

In the last weeks, tree interesting articles have appeared on my virtual Facebook Twitter desk. All of them are talking about the end of photography as we know it.

The oldest one was written by Stephen Mayes and published in Wired in 2012 with all summarising title “Photographs Are No Longer Things, They’re Experiences”. In short, fixed analog image was substituted by the digital image, which is from its essence fluid. It everything began with digital cameras, but smartphones and flow of pictures in social media are the real game changer.  

As I interpret it, to have your portrait, you don't have to go to an atelier and afterwards hang a framed photo of yourself on the wall. Your portrait is creating by the seemingly never ending, never finished, never definitive flow of your selfies, which you are pushing into social networks. 

The stream is the picture. 

The second article published on The Photographers gallery was written by Daniel Rubinstein with a question in the title "What is 21st Century Photography?”  Reading this not easy text I was amazed (again once), how close the philosophy can be to the poetry. I'm not able to summarize this rich text in one sentence, but I can try to paraphrase.

The classic photography is as a description of the world limited, in the same way, as Newton’ s law’s of physics. Both of them are true, but they describe just a narrow segment of reality. Photography of 21st century is a wave, a continuing reshaping of the image generated from data. And photographs are like waves on a seashore, just a small echo of the large forces, working in the deeps. 

The third article can be easily and maybe mistakenly turn down as a bit silly attempt to construct something that doesn’t exist. The reason of vulnerability is the fact, that this article is a prediction, what can photography become in the future. 

It was published in Time with a bombastic title "The Next Revolution in Photography Is Coming". By Stephen Mayes camera makers from obvious reason still reconstruct digital images in the way, that mimics familiar old photography. But real information potential of digital photography will be unleashed and in the future photographs will change in totally new, today unknown forms. 

If these three articles contains a bit more than a small bit of wisdom, and I believe all of them do, then there is an unpleasant question. If the photography as we know it ends, what will be the role of a photographer. If there will be any?

Maybe the art is the only field, where photography and photographer   will survive in the form we know and love. The classic photographic picture as a way how to express yourself, how to communicate, how to create or capture beauty in many different meanings of this world. 

What do you think, is photography changing? And when you like, make or collect what is called as alternative photography, what you are looking for there?

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Juro Kovacik
Good points Doyle. As a photographer, I have a great time, these years, but the world I'm living in /and I'm working for/ is totally different
your subscribe seems to be bugged
Doyle Thomas(non-registered)
In the early days of Photography it was a serious matter to make a Photograph. Great skill, time, and investment was required. Even after George Eastman coined the phrase "You push the button, we do the rest" making a Photograph was an event, time and care were taken. It was in the early sixties with the introduction of "instamatic" cameras that time and care were lost.

Today, of the billion or so pictures taken every day, perhaps 1 percent have the time and care to become Photographs. For the other 99 percent time and care, the thinking about what the goal is, is not there.. Indeed, most people don't know or care, they just want pictures of friends, family, and where they are.

Yes, for the visually educated Photography has changed and will continue to do so. For most however they are happy to get the occasional good shot and that won't change.
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