Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Evolution of Photography

The question is nothing new- it's been around for the better part of the past decade.  Will the camera phone replace the camera?  It's almost a trick question.  The answer is both yes and no.  

Yes- for the amateur and novice photographer their camera phone has absolutely replaced the point and shoot.  There's no question about it.  You get roughly the same results and can instantly share them with the world.  And that's a good thing.  But in terms of sheer image quality, the latest iPhone will never, not in a million years, compete with a pro with a DSLR.  But that doesn't mean that you can't get brilliant images from an iPhone.  In fact, there are hoards of pro photographers on Instagram who proudly hashtag every picture they upload with #iphoneonly.  Lame, but ok.

iPhone photo by Kevin Russ

The way we shoot is changing.  The digital sensor's resolution and dynamic range are both getting so good that who knows what photography will look like twenty, thirty, or a hundred years from now.  Hell, digital video cameras that capture 4K resolution are so insanely good that you can make poster size prints with them and never know that it came from a video camera.  This excites me and terrifies me.

(Watch the video below about printing stills from a video.  It's the future, and it's pretty fascinating.)

Another one from Kevin Russ

The thing is photography, just like everything else, is evolving.  That shouldn't terrify you.  A new camera is not going to replace you.  A good image is a good image.  My favorite images of all time are rarely technically perfect.  The point of the photograph is to capture a evoke some emotion that would otherwise be lost forever.  It doesn't matter what took it.  From time to time I go back to re-edit a picture I took with my 30D, the first DSLR I ever owned.  It's laughable how easily the files fall apart when you start tinkering with them.  But still, some of my own favorite images were shot with it.  In fact, looking at large prints from my 30D, 7D, and now 5DIII, it's hard to tell which ones came from which.  Point being, the "latest and greatest" is mainly just marketing. (Yet I still drool over the latest and greatest...)

Yet another one by Kevin Russ

Someone once said that the greatest camera is the one you have with you.  And that's true.  A good photographer is a good photographer- it's about the vision, not the gear.  I can't tell you the joy it brings me when I see someone shooting with a $10,000 rig only to get home, look them up, and realize that they are a joke...a rich, rich joke.  The reverse also terrifies me.."how are you shooting that with that"?

I don't know where I am going with this post other than to say a good image is a good image.  I guess that's really about it.  This whole post was inspired by this guy Kevin Russ.  His images are stunning.  Absolutely beautiful.  And yet they were all taken with his iPhone.  I look at some of them and think, "Wow, they're perfect.  I wouldn't change a thing."  But then I always think, "Wait...what is this guy carried around a "real" camera?"  It makes me wonder, but in the end I guess it doesn't matter.  We're living in exciting times.

Watch this video below, it's well worth it.

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