Thursday, 3 May 2012

The History and Progression of Photography - Part 2

Photography has changed and evolved tremendously since Niépce’s invention in the 1800’s, today we see the development of new technologies to create breath-taking photographs. Adobe Photoshop is the new craze in photography, this is a graphics-editing programme developed and published by Adobe Systems Incorporated. As an aspiring photographer one has to be able to use and manipulate this software. The green screen/chroma-key is another popular technology used in photography, this software enables users to capture and edit photographs. Green background of images can be replaced with the photographer’s own exciting and attractive images. This software is used frequently in movies and model photography where a green screen is used and the image of choice is later placed as a background. 

The advancement of digital technology has contributed to the success of photography too, namely digital photography which allows us the privilege to store, print, display etc. the captured images. Pictures can be stored on the camera or can be transferred onto a computer’s hard drive which guarantees longevity of the photography. Digital photography also allows users to review and edit images almost the same instant after the image is captured. Traditional photography requires many more stages before the image can be reviewed and edited, and each stage costs additional time and money. 

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With digital technology, you can perform enhancements and add information on the picture such as added text or even the date. This process can usually be performed within the camera itself. Digital photography has also provided employment opportunities for many individuals who initially took photos as a hobby. Now, with a little training and time spent learning about the camera and manipulating digital technology, anyone can become a world-class photographer, with some creativity in the mix of course. Photography has impacted society immensely in the 21st century.

With the advent of Social Networks such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, photographs are one of the driving forces behind the multiple users of these sites. Everyone wants to see pictures and it sometimes seem as if the users are vying for a “best photograph award”. Photography aids greatly in capturing and storing fond memories. Photography has played a large role in our conception of history. Historically, photographs provided an objective record of real events. They were crucial for instance, in confirming for the public the ravages of the Civil War and horrors of the Holocaust. A tangible impact of photography has been the number of people employed in the industry, particularly after the introduction of 35mm film in the 1920s by the Kodak Company. 

The innovation meant a number of people were needed to sell and service cameras and films. As I mentioned earlier, photography has also made individuals rich through the ability to take good pictures.  One could call it ‘the dream job’…getting paid for something you view as fun and love to do. But with all these different software used to change and manipulate a photograph, one is left to think about what photography has become, can it still be considered an art or just mere technology, after all only a camera is needed to capture an image and the software does the rest.

As we read and are introduced to upgrades on Adobe Photoshop etc, it probably makes us wonder if these new technologies are taking away from the realness of photography. The software aids greatly in making the business of taking photographs more viable, enabling an individual to create a perfect or appropriate picture. However, a lingering thought is left that with all these advancements in technology, photographers might get uninterested to take a real natural picture and allow it to remain untouched. Nonetheless, I am sure every person in society has been impacted by a photograph or two and we enjoy lauding an individual for creating a masterpiece photo. Niépce would be thrilled to see how his invention has transformed into a life-changer, so whether we are the subject of a photograph or the one ‘making’ the photo always remember the words of Edward Steichen “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.”

Lafaine Wiggan