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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

21 Century Photography Documents Forward Evolution.

Forward progress requires change and 21 century photography will see more change to a growing and maturing form of visual art. In the early 1800s there were daguerreotypes, by the late 1800s the hand held camera. In the 20th century, the 35mm became the hottest ticket and by the late part of the 20th century, a new world opened up with digital. 21 century photography driven by ever more refined techniques, technology and raw talent is destined to see evolution in the world of photography.

There are purists that discount the contribution digital photography makes to the art of photography. In 21 century photography the debate remains. Digital photography, like so much else of the fast food generation, offers to capture, edit and print an image in less than an hour. Some purists argue there is no true refinement of technique, no understanding of the composition that needs careful patience through the setting, the capturing of the image and the care to develop.

While it is true that faster does not guarantee better, arguments that favor digital photography recognize that it would not exist without forerunners such as the daguerreotype or 35 mm. 21 century photography is not just a time to move forward technologically, but to utilize that technology in better ways.

Yes, digital images can be doctored, erasing the uniqueness that each individual image a standard camera could capture. Should digital and standard images compete in the same category in 21 century photography? Are they equal in nature, composition and presentation? That answer lies with the experts. In some ways, there are shots that even a digital camera cannot do justice to, yet. Whether it is the technology or the technique is a moot point. Digital photography is the heir in training to standard photography.

In 21 century photography the tradition of making images available to more people will be continued no matter what form that takes. The daguerreotype replaced oil paintings (usually only available to the wealthy) for capturing personal portraits. The handheld took the camera from the specialist with his bulky equipment and put it into the hands of the masses. The digital camera increases the availability and eliminates the development stage from the process.

While it can be argued that progress is not always positive, 21 century photography must accentuate the positive. In 21 century photography, better digital cameras and better digital techniques will arise as hobbyists and professionals play with the medium. It is not inconceivable that by the end of 21 century photography, there will be an heir to digital and the arguments will begin that try to protect digital's ousting as the 'way to go' in photography.

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