The NPD Group’s new “Imaging Confluence Study” shows that the percentage of photos taken on a smartphone grew from 17 percent last year to 27 percent this year. What does this mean for those of us who are “serious” about photography?

Is there going to be a time when a smart phone (please remember these next words) OR SOMETHING LIKE IT replaces the traditional “real” camera?

Will technology like light field or holography be a factor? Will stills be replaced by movies?

There are many possibilities. If you went back to my grandfather’s generation, and showed them what we have available to us today to make images, I am pretty sure everyone you talked to would be shocked and incredulous.

Fast forward to what life will be like for your grandchildren. Ask yourself how cameras will be different.

Is there a point to this exercise? Yep – two points in fact.

Point one: It’s fun to speculate, and hold in context, the changes we’ve seen in photography over the last 100 years. It’s fun to look at what happens next. So point number one is just to have FUN!

Point two: This is more serious. Will the ubiquitous nature of image-making devices in the future make the photographer’s “vision” or tell stories less important? I don’t think so. Given the fact that with very old tech like flash bulbs and single-exposure cameras, photographers of the past were able to make images that stopped people dead in their tracks, I think the same holds true going the other direction. Photographs – or whatever takes their place – will probably be easier to get than ever over the coming generations, but you’ll still need a “good eye” to make the most of all that new tech.


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