FOR­WARD THINK­ING

New Zealand D-Photo - - EDITORIAL - ADRIAN HATWELL

New Year’s res­o­lu­tions get a pretty bad rap, and con­sid­er­ing their usu­ally piti­ful life­span that’s fair enough. But I like them: the idea of hav­ing the clock re­set, start­ing over with a clean slate, and vainly try­ing to shape the fu­ture by force of will. It’s like some kind of mass quixotic delu­sion. And it’s fun. So happy New Year, won­der­ful read­ers. I hope you have at least made a few cre­ative plans for the months ahead that you’ll be able to stick to.

Pre­dict­ing what the fu­ture may bring has been a per­sis­tent pas­time for many pho­tog­ra­phers, and it’s not sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing the art is un­der­pinned by ever-evolv­ing tech­nol­ogy. For those who don’t nec­es­sar­ily keep up with the bleed­ing-edge trends, this is­sue we’ve asked Chris van Ryn to take a look at the ad­vances that have shaped our pho­to­graphic tools and pro­cesses in re­cent years, and cast a pre­dic­tive eye as to where it all may be lead­ing (page 40).

The past year has been an in­ter­est­ing one to watch in terms of cam­era re­leases. We’ve seen the rise of com­pact, af­ford­able full-frame DSLRs, a con­cept that not so very long ago was al­most in­con­ceiv­able. The mirrorless cat­e­gory has con­tin­ued to make in­no­vate strides, and is now be­gin­ning to see the sales growth many had pinned their hopes on in the wake of the com­pact cam­era’s col­lapse. And the imag­ing power of smartphones con­tin­ues race to­wards some­thing akin to se­ri­ous cam­eras.

You don’t have to be a fu­tur­ist to see the trend; smaller, more pow­er­ful cam­eras that are al­ways at hand. Photography for ev­ery­one, all the time. Of course the cam­era is just a tool, it’s noth­ing if you don’t know, or care, how to use it. And we’ve seen the re­sult of ubiq­ui­tous lenses put to mind­less, nar­cis­sis­tic work in the selfie phe­nom­e­non and its var­ied off­shoots. It’s not a pretty sight, but hope­fully it’s just a start­ing point, the be­gin­ning of a jour­ney to­wards a tech-savvy pop­u­la­tion tak­ing photography more se­ri­ously as a craft. The tech­nol­ogy is there, as are the learn­ing re­sources (you’re read­ing one right now) — be­yond that it’s just a mat­ter of re­solve. Or res­o­lu­tion, if you will.

There’s no need to tell you D-Photo read­ers this, of course. You’re al­ready here be­cause you’ve got a pas­sion for cre­at­ing images with real merit. But as those novel statis­tics con­tinue to re­mind us, we live in an age where more peo­ple are cre­at­ing more images than ever be­fore, by an ex­tremely large mar­gin. If we can even get a por­tion of those in­dis­crim­i­nate snap­pers think­ing a lit­tle harder about what they do be­hind a lens, the world will cer­tainly be a much more beau­ti­ful place for it. We’ll con­tinue to pro­mote the cause in th­ese pages, and I trust you’ll all be ad­vo­cat­ing for photography in your ev­ery­day lives, too.

Tech­no­log­i­cal change marches on with a cer­tain level of pre­dictabil­ity, but cul­tural change is a lot harder to call. I’m not equipped to sug­gest 2015 will her­ald a sea change in the way peo­ple uti­lize and value photography, but by the same to­ken I can’t see any rea­son it shouldn’t. Re­gard­less, we’ll con­tinue to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion with great in­ter­est, as I’m sure will you all. So don’t you go any­where, be­cause the fu­ture’s aper­ture is wide open.

Photo by Ilan Wit­ten­berg

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