The Future of Photography?

September 19, 2021

Adelaide River, Kakadu, Northern TerritoryAdelaide River, Kakadu, Northern Territory

Adelaide River detail, Kakadu, Northern Territory
Phase One XT 150MP, 80mm lens, 1/2000 second @ f3.2, ISO 160

After talking about the history of photography last week, Better Photography magazine contributor Ken Spence challenged me to guess what the future holds. Good luck, I reckon! I can't even work out when we're all going to get out of Covid lockdown here in Sydney. Mind you, as Ken is in Melbourne, what else have we got to do?

There's a part of me that wants the print to remain the epitome of photographic expression. I love my Epson printers and Canson papers (unapologetic plug as I'm an ambassador for both brands) and I still get great joy out of making a print. Currently I'm working on a project with small prints, but I've also received an inquiry for a 60-inch print - big or small, the print is a beautiful object and something more than just the image.

But what if technology changes? What if my beautiful EIZO monitors (another unashamed plug) could be manufactured as ultra-thin, one by two metre screens which I could hang on a wall and stream images to from my computer or smart phone? The technology is there, but the screens are generally multiple monitors tiled together. I'm dreaming of a continuous surface - and maybe I can have different textures on those surfaces.

But would I be happy? 

Turn the power off and the image is gone, but that's not the case with a print. A print is a separate entity. It exists on its own. Is this 'existence' what attracts me to the print, or the image quality I can produce? I'll have to think about that because in the first instance, it's the image quality that is most important - my expression. If the expression is just as good in the future, but in some different way, why wouldn't I change my view?

Referencing history again, digital cameras produced poor quality in comparison to film and many photographers couldn't see the point. But that changed and so did our views.

So, once I can see what the technology in the future holds, I'll be in a better position to have an opinion. Or perhaps I'll have a third jab of the Covid vaccine which includes a special microchip co-designed by the CIA and KGB, and I'll hack the chip so I can stream my best photos from my body to screens all around the world - in fact, to every television and computer monitor there is. Even if they're not turned on, my hack will be so good the screens are turned on all by themselves and the world will see the brilliance of my photography! Wait on, why worry about a physical delivery mechanism - I'll just stream my photos virtually and everyone who has had the vaccine will be forced to see my images.

That's it! I have a plan!

And the end of lock down can't come soon enough...




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