The death of photography?

An interesting one from the Guardian:
Follows hot on the heels of my coming across a little beaute of a book in the Portico Library last week – a 1950s photography handbook describing the 35mm as “revolutionary technology”. We might take more images now due to the explosion in camera-phone ownership (a democratising of photography, so to speak), but do we really look at what we’re snapping? Has vision, or the art of looking, ironically become denigrated because of the constant stream of imagery – too much, too often, and most of it not really that good. I wonder at the motivations behind photograph-taking today. Rather than desiring to capturing a trace of the original, a souvenir or memento, society seems to obsessively feel the need to hold everything in the “still”, to frame it, and save it on some external hard drive. Social media is littered with junk-images of family and events, letting everyone take a sneak peek into the private world of “me”. I’m not so sure actually if this is any different to photo-taking of old, it’s just that the technology has become more widely available.

To some extent I agree with the assertion that digital photography is lazy, but only if we perceive all photographs to be art, which they are not. Individuals may snap away thinking “oh, this will do”, but a camera-phone does not turn each of us into a photographer. It turns us into an obsessive snapper, enjoying our play with technology, but it does not threaten the skill and unique perspective of a talented photographer. True photographers are storytellers; the rest of us are just afraid of forgetting the night-before. The art of photography is certainly not dead – if anything, the scourge of horrendous image-taking actually serves to highlight some of the glinting brilliance shining out from beneath the pile.


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