Back to the Future

Back to the Future

by Ron Leach, Publisher

Even though the calendar says it is mid-October, we are currently in production on the January, 2007 issue of Shutterbug magazine. That means it is once again time to take stock of where we've been and where we are going. To that end, we decided to look back at the turn of this new century when we asked Shutterbug's regular contributors to offer their views on the millennium ahead. As you might suspect, we received a variety of interesting predictions from this very diverse group. So as we prepare for 2007, let's take a look back at how a few of these experts envisioned the second 150 years of photography:

Roger Hicks--Go forward far enough in time and cybermen may capture all they see with the blink of an eye, download from brain to holovision screen, retouch by power of thought alone, then save the shot for all eternity in some undreamed of form. `Til then, and maybe after, silver's hard to beat for beauty, cheapness, speed and ease. Like Shakespeare's tongue itself, it will survive beside the novelties; it may outlast them all.

Darryl C. Nicholas--Images will be captured, stored and displayed electronically. As the electronics improve and it becomes possible to capture and store more and more raw data, it will also become possible to capture enough data to support three-dimensional images. And, of course, after that, the next step will be three-dimensional images that move.

Monte Zucker--Certainly, the basics of photography will never be replaced. Good technique will never be outdated. The future is always a combination of the best from the past and the greatest ideas of today. One without the other will never last.

Howard Millard--The darkroom is moving out of the dark and onto the desktop; inkjet printers can lay down images on a rich array of papers, canvas, plastic and other substrates. Software like Adobe Photoshop 5.5 offers infinite control over tonal curves, contrast, color and retouching, all in a tiny fraction of the time required for these tasks with conventional photography.

Edward Sarkis Balian--Image-makers will be able to share their work instantaneously all over the world. Cultures will be in even closer contact than they are today via these instant images transmitted everywhere--even well into deep space. Fantastic 3D digital cameras with superb image quality will sell at the checkout stands in supermarkets for under $5.

David B. Brooks--Accessibility and affordability will, in the future, allow more and more individuals to use the digital darkroom to the extent the traditional, closed, wet, and light-less silver-film darkroom never allowed. The dimension of possibility that is most intriguing is the phenomenon of convergence that is associated with the computer.

Jay Abend--This is what I know about the next 150 years of photography: The still image will continue to have a unique place in popular culture, regardless of the technological changes that occur.