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.