Photography is changing from documentation to expression
It is quite obvious to me that photography as we have known it until digital took over is over. However, a new photography is emerging. What it is is still in the making, the actual emergence being hampered by the ongoing and constant technological improvements and changes. Now that these have slowed down, and that we have a relatively stable platform to work from, I expect to see this emergence take a more easily recognizable form.
This process is no different than the process that followed the emergence of photography itself. At that time it was claimed that painting was over. Certainly, painting as it was known prior to the invention of photography was over. However, a new painting emerged, and this new painting was characterized by no longer being responsible for representing things as they were. Photography could do this a lot better. Painting therefore took on a different role, that of representing what could not be seen. The abstract, the impressionist, the surreal, etc. became the subject of this new painting.
What is happening with photography today, is that just like painting before it, the responsibility to represent reality is fading away. It appears that this reality is now falling upon the shoulders of video. This change is made possible in part by the emergence of HD video which gives us a more believable image, especially on TV. It is seconded by the difficulty of manipulating video on computers. While possible, it takes a much more powerful machine than is required to manipulate a photograph. The knowledge necessary is also far less mainstream than for photography. While nearly everyone is familiar with Photoshop, few can name software used to manipulate video, and far fewer actually use this software.
This is seen in many different photography fields. Clearly it is present in fine art, because it is about expression rather than documentation, but it is also seen in reportage, wedding, etc. People who want reality now turn to video. People who turn to photography expect something different than what they see or what they can capture on their own.
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