That thing at the top of this post, when printed on paper, used to be a cherished snapshot. A photographic memory. Not anymore. Now, it no longer exists.
What’s the first thing you think to pack when you go on a vacation to somewhere special? A camera of course. (Or if you’re me, several!)
Sure, there are cameras in our phones but if you’re traveling and have a hobby doing photography, certainly you take a camera body and a lens or two, right?
Apparently not. I was just at the Beach Hotel Resort in Disney World in Orlando, Florida–I flew in to photograph a big cable industry convention–and while walking through the resort, I saw no cameras. No photographs being taken. Some selfies with phones. Certainly some phone shots. Most people actually seemed to be busy studying their phones the whole time I was there. Not making photographs.
Okay, I lie. I stayed there for four days and actually did see two cameras. Just two. One teenage boy had a film camera, a Canon AE-1 Program, which I commented that he was photographing with one of the best and encouraged him to print his photographs. And a young guy walked past with a Fuji X100V, which I complimented him on and stopped for a minute to chat. But that’s all in four days.
Photography is over. No one in 50 years, in 2072, will be looking at these folks’ trip to Disney made on their phone for a glance and a swipe. Guaranteed. What I saw wasn’t photography.
Instead there was this.
At the conference there were some Disney characters posing for photos. One after the other, a parent hands over their phone to a Disney employee who using the expert one-handed shutter technique, pushes the button and that’s that. Decisive moment? Ha, what are you talking about? What about the light? What light, who’s noticing that? (Hint: They’re not photographers, they’re Disney employees.)
“Sorry about that. We don’t know anything about how these things work.”
It was so obvious to me, so noticeable how photography had ceased to exist among tourists. There was none happening in this amazing, uber-expensive vacation land. A place where people used to bring their best camera, good color film, all the best gear–it was their hobby and they were amateur photographers, looking forward to prints when they returned home to relive their adventures.
Now, virtually no one had even thought to bring a camera.
Family after family, no cameras over Mom or Dad’s shoulder. Just the phone. It’s all just the phone all the time.
A Denver photography center today asked for my opinion on what could make their center better. I answered, “Be revolutionary, encourage photographic prints, photographs made large and displayed. Real photographs. Encourage photographers to avoid social media, which has been a blight on society and perhaps the worst thing to happen to as a result of the internet in the last 20 years.”
Photography is going through some serious evolutionary changes. But what we have now isn’t photography. It’s not art. It’s not lasting. It’s just asking for a like and a look, and you can bet on the like.
The look, not so much.
Seriously, nobody cares.