Some of the most haunting images of our time are those made in areas of armed conflict. Among the earliest war photographs were those taken by an anonymous American who made a series of daguerreotypes in 1847 during the Mexican-American War.
Like many photographers, I grew up beholden to the great color palette and brilliant results of Kodachrome 25 and the easily pushable, low-light capabilities of Kodak Tri-X black-and-white film. These iconic products are but two of Kodak’s remarkable achievements that come to mind as we ponder the recent Chapter 11 filing of the company that invented the hand-held camera and was one of the world’s most notable brands for over a century.
Three prominent industry organizations have just launched a comprehensive and long-needed campaign to permanently embed standardized metadata and copyright-status information in digital files. The program is intended to benefit those who create, as well as use, digital photos, text, audio and video files.
When industry mavens get together to ponder the future of photography, all too often the discussion centers around megapixels, file formats, sensor configurations, optical design, storage options, and other technical minutiae. Of course there’s nothing wrong with those prognostications, particularly since many of us are techno-nerds. It’s also true that sophisticated tools undoubtedly play an important role in a photographers results.
A “great” photograph isn’t necessarily a beautiful photograph. In fact, some of history’s most compelling images have been those that made a statement about contemporary culture or motivated people to support a cause. These days, the power of photography to instigate social change is perhaps most evident in documentary images of public protests here and abroad.
Ever since early man scrawled his thoughts and experiences on the inside of a cave, “journalists” have helped inform the public and shape the course of society. And never has the role of the reporter been more important than it is in today’s complicated, fast-paced world. While the Internet has opened the floodgates of news and information, it has also transformed how reporters, photojournalists and news organizations go about their business.
It’s been quite some time since advancing technology finally took the teeth out of the old film-versus-digital debate, as most amateur and professional photographers have long-since switched to digital point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras. That said, there still are a few diehard silver halide devotees, and we’ve even seen some new films introduced in recent years.
The next time you find yourself frustrated by a difficult photo assignment, consider the challenges faced daily by Tara Miller—winner of the 2011 CNIB Eye Remember National Photographer Contest. Miller is a legally blind, professional photographer from Winnipeg, Manitoba who doesn’t let her disability stand in the way of her passion for creating beautiful imagery.
As photographic technology and market trends continue to evolve at a rapid rate in our digital era, many of the latest advancements occur in the professional arena before filtering down to prosumer and amateur photographers. One such sector in a constant state of change is the photo printing and output market. InfoTrends, a leading worldwide market research and consulting firm for the digital industry, recently released an interesting study examining how these advancements influence customer preferences and create new revenue opportunities for photographers who recognize these shifts and adapt accordingly.
While browsing through my archives recently, I rediscovered a fascinating 1944 magazine piece in which several artists, photographers and educators offered their views and expectations of photography after World War II. The article, which appeared in Popular Photography, gave new meaning to the famous Winston Churchill quote “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”