Are Smartphones Changing Photography?

It has been almost 25 years since the first digital cameras were introduced to consumers, and 10 years since the number of camera phones eclipsed the number of stand-alone digital cameras sold worldwide. Is the prevalence of smartphones changing the way we take photos? I would reply unequivocally yes but GantDaily reports on a slightly different opinion:

“Image making and image transmission using cell phone cameras has become part of our popular culture,” she explains. Eastman Kodak company was founded in the late 19th century on the premise that cameras should be accessible and easy to use for a broad audience. According to Parizek, the early Kodak cameras “were not professional cameras and they were never meant to be. They were made for a different market than professional photographers. Smartphone cameras are made for that same popular audience, that same market.”

That immediacy is a big part of the appeal to smartphone users. “It’s not that people are ‘settling’ for smartphone photos. I think that it is more about accessibility and the ability to be connected to the world at any moment in time — as long as you have a signal,” Parizek says. “Since cell phones have become such an extension of our being, people have become addicted to carrying their phones with them everywhere they go, and image-taking and posting has become an extension of that experience.”

Parizek also points out that, because of smartphones, people take more photos. “The difference is, in the past, images cost something. Film was expensive and it had to be developed, which also cost something, so there was a worth associated with this process. For this reason, people thought a little more before they snapped a picture.”

Due to the reduced cost, the convenience and the ability to take massive amounts of pictures with one smartphone, photography is shifting from documentation to communication. When I see people taking thousands of photographs I often wonder what they do with all that data. In the era of film, one might have a few albums and a few shoe boxes at most. Now the equivalent might be a warehouse.

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