The End Is Nigh


General Photography

Actually, it isn’t. But when you read articles like this one by Stella Kramer it really sounds as if it was. Where to begin? (more)

Maybe just in random order, a few thoughts. Well, first of all the “content-aware fill” is just a nifty automated way of doing what people have always been doing. So it’s not like this is new. The only thing that’s new is that the software will do it for you now. Second, I don’t see why it’s so bad that software would be able to do quickly what currently can be and often is incredibly tedious.

At this stage, I’m imagining medieval Monks complaining about how the printing press will ruin the creation of books that, up until then, had been achieved by copying them by hand.

But crucially, I think it takes quite a bit more than the ability to do a “content-aware fill” by hand to “make a decent photo.” Of course, I’m saying this as someone who mostly deals with fine-art photographs, and maybe the commercial world is very different. I can’t imagine, though.

Here’s the thing, when I think of all the successful commercial photographers I mostly remember them for their style, for their visual language. I don’t remember them for their Photoshop skills (even though gratuitous Photoshopping might be part of how the images were created).

And if what my friends in the commercial photo world told me is correct, what differentiates a professional commercial photographer from an amateur is that the former can do a great job in a reliable and quick fashion, whereas the latter simply can’t.

“Why should photography be easy?” - Why should photography be hard?

But the main problem for me is that Stella says “I’m not trying to revive the ‘are photographs truth’ argument” - only to then do just that a few sentences later: “I don’t know how anyone is going to be able to trust photography at all anymore.”

Unless we understand how the meaning and creation of images have changed, we will end up in deeper and deeper trouble as software companies will simply ignore all the wailing and churn out ever more nifty tools (to do all the things that people are doing already). The solution can only be to learn and adapt - instead of trying to stick with what belongs to the past.