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Traditional photography: the end is nigh

Interesting article here saying that the Chicago Sun Times has fired all it’s photographers, and from now is only going to use photos taken by it’s reporters on their iPhones. They’re even making the reporters undertake mandatory “iphoneography” training.

On the one hand it’s fairly sad that such a skilled profession is now beginning to be seen as unnecessary, on the other it’s actually quite amazing that technology has advanced so much that pictures taken on a phone are now seen as good enough for such a major publication.

Makes me wonder how far away we are from having phones with SLR quality sensors and full manual controls. Maybe in 5 years I’ll have ditched the DSLR and will be shooting long exposures with the iPhone 10?

Comments

  • Noel Elliot
    Noel Elliotover 1 year ago

    I read the original article and was not surprised….People who make decisions and don’t actually TAKE the photographs do not understand what photography is all about…Good Photojournalism is still Good Photo journalism but I would go one step further than the I Phone thing….Maybe all photos used in journalism in the future will just be created in Photoshop or a more advanced programme, with no cameras or photographers involved at all…..Far fetched…..Maybe not Donald

  • Very true, I suppose if the photos do turn out to be noticably inferior they’ll abandon this idea and try to get the pro photographers back. But yes it’ll either end up at cameraless imaging or google will invent something which allows live street views in google maps, and the press can just do screengrabs.

    – Donald Cameron

  • ©Arni Katz
    ©Arni Katzover 1 year ago

    Twenty years ago I was a consultant to the Digital Science Division of Eastman Kodak. I held up a sheet of 8X10 inch Ektachrome and told the audience, “When the tangible connection between the artist and his medium is lost, the industry will die.”

    They fired me…

  • That says it all really! The industry has changed so much, don’t think it’ll ever die entirely but it’s certainly going to have to adapt and be inventive to stay ahead. With so few photos actually getting printed nowadays and only viewed on a computer or phone, there’s little reason for companies like Kodak to exist.

    – Donald Cameron

  • Alex Preiss
    Alex Preissover 1 year ago

    On the other, other hand god news from Russia.

  • That’s excellent, you could swear that was an April fool’s joke. There’s hope for the industry yet!

    – Donald Cameron

  • Wendi Donaldson
    Wendi Donaldsonover 1 year ago

    Oh gawd!!! This is grim for most of us. But take heart, my friend…..no iPhone or schleppy news photographer could ever produce images like yours!! :)

  • Just you wait, Apple will have invented a voice controlled b&w long exposure filter before too long. And if it means we didn’t have to carry about all this equipment then bring it on…

    – Donald Cameron

  • marshall calvert  IPA
    marshall calve...over 1 year ago

    more power to the pixels

  • Careful now, this is the point in The Terminator where the robots begin to take over.

    – Donald Cameron

  • Ben Loveday
    Ben Lovedayover 1 year ago

    What about the different lenses and the dynamic range?

  • It’ll definitely make certain types of shots impossible without the big lenses, the paparazzi and sports photographers can’t get away with using a phone. The paper will probably just continue buy all those types of shots from other media outlets.

    – Donald Cameron

  • Ben Loveday
    Ben Lovedayover 1 year ago

    Soon they will be taking photos from remote drones, no photographers needed.

  • I bet that will be possible one day.

    – Donald Cameron

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackelover 1 year ago

    No matter how good the equipment gets, the real pros will be the ones that can make it sing. I’m a painter, and good art supplies have been readily available for decades. Doesn’t make everyone who buys them an artist. But yeah, that a major paper fired phtographers is a bad sign. They don’t appreciate what a pro brings to the table. They might end up finding that out in a number of ways, what they threw away.

  • That’s a good point about the art supplies, it’s not just down to the tools. In the same way that some newspapers started trialling a paywall to access their website content, this is probably a trial that all media outlets are monitoring. If it works then professional media photography is doomed, if it doesn’t then they can easily switch back before any other papers follow suit. Will be interesting to see what happens.

    – Donald Cameron

  • berndt2
    berndt2over 1 year ago

    I think there’s a big disconnect between ‘acceptable’ and ‘fantastic’, however in this day and age, acceptable is totally acceptable. There seems to be no economic viability in ‘better’, especially in media… and/or in many things. That’s a real pity.

  • Agree with that, there’s so little money being made from publishing now that they don’t have the budgets to aim for anything more than acceptable. Can you imagine trying to get some of your movie premiere shots with a phone, from the back of a crowd? It’d be next to impossible. And that raises a point about how the Chicago Sun reporters would go about getting images of events at night using a phone, you can’t adjust shutter speed or ISO so the shots would be all blurry. Maybe there’s an un-blur filter on Instagram, everything will be getting “processed” through that anyway no doubt.

    – Donald Cameron

  • berndt2
    berndt2over 1 year ago

    Actually I was going to add another (semi-contrary) point of view that said two things, both of which I think are food for thought. 1. To a certain extent it is understandable because to be fair all breaking news is now captured by the people onsite, and the people onsite are not the professional photographers who get there to capture the aftermath, but the people who happened to Be There When It Happened. Live grainy footage is more ‘valuable’ than a gloriously captured aftermath. 2. They’ll use freelancers, and freelancers will still get access to ‘closed’ events like premieres or press conferences or scheduled events and ceremonies. Seen in that light, you can see that there might be an argument against keeping people on staff in a publication that is struggling – especially I suppose because those photos are fairly generic and those events are fairly well covered. I am not entirely convinced that this will raise the quality of the photographs in either case 1 or 2 though (unless or until iPhone quality rises further, or everyone gets better photographers).