21st century photographer

21st century photographer

Toronto. The stand alone camera as we know it will soon disappear in the face of the ubiquitous smartphone (shown is an iPod Touch). Modern photographers shoot digital and view digital. The files may be downloaded to a computer and adjusted in a program like Lightroom. In many cases the smartphone has its own “app” for adjusting exposure, contrast, light balance, etc before the file is uploaded to an email address or a social media site.

Before photography was invented, people who could afford an artist had a “likeness” painted to mount on the wall or, if small enough, to be carried and viewed by owner and friends alike. The daguerreotype and calotype meant a far less expensive “likeness” could be created and portrait studios sprung up. As the means to take and process photographs was simplified, more and more people took on this skill and began recording details of everyday life replacing artists. Newspapers and magazines began using photographs and the half-tone process instead of wood cuts or steel cuts.

Each major step from 1839 to the present has reduced cost, reduced the time involved in learning the skill, and resulted in huge price drops. As one sports photographer and speaker told us recently, in the days of film, a Kodachrome slide might appear a few weeks later in a magazine and cost the publisher $200 dollars or more. When digital became the norm for the professionals, fees dropped to a tenth or so and dozens of shots were transmitted to the editor for due consideration.

Gone are the days of safelights, enlargers, chemistry, film, and photo paper with its variations in contrast range (Black & White) or fixed at one contrast with slight variations available by changing the developer, temperature, or time. Gone are the shoe boxes and albums with their random selection of saved photographs, some blurry, some off frame. And the head phones above? To listen to music and the CBC…

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