The Future of Photography (Popular Photography 1944)

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I FEEL THAT the camera finds its main importance as a recording and communicating mechanism, and I should like to see it develop until it takes its place with the pencil and the typewriter as an instrument of our everyday language. Photography should be taught in the schools along with penmanship as part of postwar education’s expansion.

It is possible to perfect the camera to the point where it will become an automatic instrument which will focus, expose and process the film by the mere push of a button. In this way we will be able to realize a medium possessing an immediacy between seeing and recording unachieved by any other art.

via A Photo Student

There Are 7 Comments On This Article.

  1. My personal favorite from that piece…

    “A writer knows how to write and a composer knows theory of music so that they can extend their arts beyond purely technical elements. But in the future the technique of photography will be so simplified and so widely taught and understood that the illiterate person will be the one who is not a photographer.”

  2. How much more can we document our lives?
    No society has ever recorded more of the mundane than we do now.
    It’s already automatic. Just use your cell phone or any of the dozens of automatic cameras to document your life for posterity.
    I recently was at an aquarium and was taken back by the number of people photographing the sea creatures instead of looking and observing them. I guess they’ll go home and relive the whole experience again.

  3. Since the pencil and typewriter have been largely replaced by computers, what will replace the camera? And please don’t say cell phones! :)

  4. I find it interesting that each of them had the foresight to look forward into the possibilities of the craft.

    I don’t think the camera will be replaced anytime soon (35mm or larger formats) because of the cost to produce a sensor at an mp rating that combined with smaller optics will produce images of any size of usable quality. Granted there P&S cameras that fit in the pocket that produce great images.

    I think eventually that technology will come about that will connect with the human mind so the images seen can be captured and transferred to a multitude of mediums. Just think about the communicator they used in the series Star trek. the Motorola flip phones are very similar. What things have been created through CG and can be realized.

  5. The pencil is a really simple tool, the typewriter is more complicated and yet more productive, the computer more so still. Many people know how to use those tools, very few know how to “write”. There is no auto content feature.

    The camera can only shoot one of three things – someone/somewhere/something – and since there is an ontology that exists with each of those three – the content is provided just by the process of the image being made with a camera. Automatic cameras do in fact make it possible to record that content very effectively.

    Quote:

    “A writer knows how to write and a composer knows theory of music so that they can extend their arts beyond purely technical elements. But in the future the technique of photography will be so simplified and so widely taught and understood that the illiterate person will be the one who is not a photographer.”

    This says nothing to the quality of the photographer or photographs. Photography has become fantastically easy, as it should have become (Much like reading and writing are more prevalent in populations than they used to be.), we should all be able to record our own histories for our own audiences.

    This new simplicity has made photography a very complicated medium in which to judge “quality”. Art has always been something that has been difficult to define, the “Art” in photography has been even more difficult, and more so now as a result of all this technology.

    We are at what I believe to be a very critical point in the development of the medium of photography. I hope we are about to be liberated, much like painting/writing/music was during the industrial revolution.

    That was a liberation of ideas, we are in the middle of a technical liberation. Not sure how that will effect the ideas…