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Photography is witnessing a total overhaul, evolution or transformation are mild words to describe this phenomenon. Twenty first century brought digital technology in the lives of photographers but the acceptance was gradual, it almost took 6-7 years for traditional photographers to move from film to digital. Post processing became an integral part of image creation and has resulted in over dependence on editing softwares. What was possible with extensive lighting setups can easily be replicated with a few clicks on computer.
Shifting from film to digital faced a lot of resistance, the initial technology was not fully developed, there were image quality issues and most importantly photographers had invested heavily in the equipment and early digital cameras were expensive. By the time digital technology became stable, sensors started producing excellent images and camera prices came down, another technology revolution was in pipeline.
Camera in phone brought a whole new perspective in the field of photography, every one with phone could click pictures. Number of photographs clicked everyday now exceed the number of photographs clicked in first hundred years of introduction of photography. A good camera in a phone is a major selling point for the phone manufacturers, self portraits or selfies helped the cause of democratisation of photography.
At present, photography has become totally technology driven, lot of innovations are taking place both in hardware and software. Advanced sensors which are smaller in size combined with fast processors driven by intelligent software are able to produce brilliant results which are comparable to high end cameras. Mirrorless cameras have brought down the size of the camera and allowed shooting at higher fps (frames per second).
Few years back Lytro brought a whole new technology introducing a new way of focusing, it allows choosing a point of focus at the time of editing. It was supposed to be a game changer but didn’t really catch the fancy of photographers. Not considering the sales figures of the camera, the innovation is commendable. Changing focus points can alter the story in a photograph and bring out better imagination and creativity.
Dual lenses (not front & rear cameras) in phone were introduced in the recent past but to introduce 16 lenses in a compact phone, the Light L16, is surely a stroke of genius. This opens up a lot of new possibilities as far as imaging is concerned, it is revolutionary. Over a period of time, considering the speed in which technology is changing, multiple lenses in a phone camera can become an essential feature in the future.
Besides the hardware improvements, photography is becoming more dependent on softwares, the algorithms. Manipulation of images in the camera itself before or after clicking is another area where immense progress is happening. Uploading the photographs on computer and sharing will be a thing of past soon. The smart devices with extra smart cameras will do the job perfectly from clicking, advanced editing to sharing and storing in the cloud.
For a traditional photographer this could be a scary situation where technology is fast taking over the human skills but at the end of the day, no technology can ever replace the eye behind the camera. The art of visual story telling will never change in spite of all the technological advancements after all photography is more about sensitivity and aesthetics than the camera. As Ansel Adams had quoted ‘ You don’t take a photograph, you make it’ .
© Ravi Dhingra 2017