Considering the future

This week in The British Journal of Photography (BJP) several of the features concentrated on the role of photographers in the future. Firstly Dirck Halstead of The Digital Journalist wrote that improvements in the quality of video will improve to such an extent that there will be no need to shoot stills anymore. ‘Screen grabs’ will be used when still pictures are required. Furthermore, he predicts that paper media will become a thing of the past and demand for still images will diminish greatly. Newspapers such as The Dallas Morning News are already equiping photographers with High Definition video cameras Halstead writes. As sales in print plummet newspaper companies are dashing to the internet to keep their revenues up. With faster internet connections video is becoming more popular. Sound can also be employed giving the potential for a richer, multimedia experience.

The next BJP article is Dan Chung’s review of the Canon XH A1 video camera. I won’t bore you with the details, suffice to say these machines have extremely high quality video and stills that can be used (at a push) for web pages or interpolated for print. This has been done with low resolution camera phones in the past.

Next article is Diane Smyth’s on multimedia presentation of still images. Will images change as a result of their new outputs. Interestingly Halstead says that more images are being shot in lanscape than before due to that being the format for TV and computers. Smyth also discusses the stills vs video debate. She quotes Hugh Pinney of Getty Images saying: A photograph can capture the definitive moment in time that encapsulates a news story. Video footage allows the viewer to follow a story as it unfolds, capturing more of the atmosphere.’

It seems that increasingly photographers will have to learn new skills but their understanding of what makes an image work will still be in demand.  My university tutor discussed this situation with my fellow students and I recently.  At first I felt depressed that I had missed the romantic days of staff photographers being sent off round the world.  It struck me that I was studying photography just as people are predicting that video will be the primary form of visual media.  I consoled myself that I am learning new techniques for image capture and presentation as these changes occur rather than having to ‘re-learn’ skills.  As Pinney states, stills have their advantages and video has its advantages.  Hopefully there will be place for both.  I think I’m going to go and dig out that video camera!

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~ by peterdarch on March 5, 2007.

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