I have always been fascinated by the way that digital advances have changed the way photography works. In my 19 years I have already seen massive changes in the way we take photos, in fact most of the photos of me from my childhood were taken on film cameras that aren’t even produced anymore! I can’t count the number of times my dad covered the lens with his finger (no wonder it was such a worry for me when I was a kid). My first introduction to taking my own photos came using disposable film cameras on family holidays, the agonising wait to see if anything would come out the way I wanted it to. The excitement in waiting for them to be ready, mixed with the fear that I had been covering the lens with my finger the whole time.
It’s safe to say that (for the most part) these days are long gone, now I can just pull my phone out of my pocket and snap away, checking every photo to make sure it’s just right. Photos can be taken over and over again as many times as you like, and they can be deleted at the touch of a button if they aren’t perfect. Long gone are the days of waiting to see if they are good enough to make the photo album, it’s all there right in front of you- instantly. This isn’t to say that disposable cameras are completely out the door just yet. From what I have seen they are still incredibly popular at weddings, they’re often left around on the tables, so guests can take their own photos. They provide the change for little moments to be captured that a paid-for photographer may not catch. Some parents also still opt to give their children disposable cameras, especially younger children who aren’t old enough for a mobile phone and can’t yet be trusted to take pictures on their parents phones.
Good OR Bad…
The positive effect that digital advances have had on photography is undeniable and make life a whole lot easier for almost everyone in almost every situation. There’s no more missing out on capturing the moment because your finger was over the lens. No more disappointed kids who didn’t turn the flash on their disposable camera in a dark room. Most of the people I know have a smartphone with a camera, in fact its almost impossible to get a phone that DOESN’T have some kind of photo taking capabilities. On top of this, some smartphone companies are coming out with devices with cameras that are said to be on par with digital compact cameras on the market. People are buying phones with a very high consideration for the quality of the camera that comes with it.
One of the major benefits of these digital advances is that it has made higher quality DSLR cameras available for purchase by more amateur photographers, such as me. Owning my own DSLR has allowed me to explore photography in much more depth than a camera phone can allow.
These advances have even led to the revival in popularity of ‘instant film’ cameras, and while what might be considered the most well-known instant film producer Polaroid doesn’t produce instant film anymore, there are other brands that have brought out instant film cameras. I own one of these cameras and I love the nostalgic feeling that using it gives me. While the wait may not be as intense as waiting for disposable film to be developed there is still a fear that the photo won’t come out how I want it to. Its nice to be able to take photos on special occasions that aren’t just a point and click of a camera phone, it captures a second in time that can’t be recreated in the same way. Plus, the vintage look of an instant film photo just can’t be matched in my opinion.
Death of the DSLR…
Having said all of this it’s sad to say that the photography industry just can’t keep up with the digital advances of camera phones. These days there are so many phones out there that for the everyday user have a camera that is more than enough. The quality keeps improving with every new phone that is released, and its possible that in the not so distant future there could be a camera phone that rivals even the highest quality DSLR camera. For people like me the experience of taking my camera out for an afternoon can’t be beaten, and I just hope this is the same for others or we could soon see the death of the DSLR.
All of this is to say that over the last 19 (almost 20) years I have seen so many changes to photography, and I have no doubt that the developments are far from over. It could be the case that modern smartphone technology will catch up, and eventually overtake the DSLR, or its possible that us amateur photographers who value the experience of photo taking will keep the industry alive.
Join me next time when I’ll be talking in more detail about the difference between different cameras, and the different experience you get using them.
Thanks for reading.