Imagine that it is 1990 and you are out for a fun night with friends at the bowling alley. Everyone is dressed adorably and for once you are all in one place at the same time. This is a Kodak moment, but no one remembered to bring a camera. In 1990, if you forgot the camera, then you did not get a picture. This was a common issue, and most people were not all that infatuated with picture memories as we are now.
Sometimes it is hard to remember a time when you had to remember to pack a camera if you wanted to capture the moment Our photography culture has been forever changed by the invent of the smartphone. Some of these changes are considered definite positives, but others may have a bit of a negative stigma attached to them.
A Brief History of Photography
In 1835, William Henry Talbot developed the first process for creating reproducible photographs as we know them today. This process involves taking a negative image on special paper and producing multiple copies of a positive image through a process known as contact printing. Since then, this process was refined and underwent several major developments leading up to the invention of the digital image.
It was not until 1900 that the first camera became available for purchase by the general public. Known as the Kodak Brownie, the camera was limited to black and white prints and was affordable to middle-class families.
Although color photographs were available much early to specialized photographers, it was 1907 before the first color photograph camera became available to the general public.
In 1948, Edwin Land created the Polaroid camera. This was the first camera to ever spit out instantly available photos. Aside from the Polaroid, the only other option for regular families was a camera that used film and the pictures had to be developed by a professional.
Technology for the modern digital camera actually began to emerge as early as 1969, but it used a cassette tape rather than a memory card. However, the first digital camera to be sold to consumers came about in 1990. It costed a pretty penny at $600 and was not widely used due to the cost. It was not until 2004 that digital cameras became more popular than cameras that use film.
More often than not, we now use cell phones to capture our precious moments in life. How has this recent development changed photography? You may be surprised by some of the answers.
One of the biggest changes that has been brought about by the invention of the smartphone, is the ability to instantly gain access to a picture every single time. Of course, there was a Polaroid camera for many years, but Polaroid film was not known for its high-quality pictures. For the most part, people had to wait to view and to share the pictures that they had taken. This is because they had to take the film to a store to be developed.
Another major development in photography since the invention of the smartphone is the ability to share these photos with a large crowd of people instantly. Years ago people had photo books where they would store their precious memories. These books were only brought out for special occasions and usually were not shared with random acquaintances. Now, we share our photos with anyone who give them a like.
Mounds of Pictures
In the time before digital cameras, there was not a habit of taking and retaking pictures to get the perfect pose. Because you did not know what the picture looked like, it was far more likely for you to snap one or two shots and call it a day. The photos were not always perfect, but they were much more candid.
Thanks to our smartphones, we take the same picture thousands of times to get the perfect pose. People now have unlimited storage, unlike with film cameras where only a certain number of photos could be snapped before the roll of film was done for.
Formerly known as the “Self-portrait” the first selfie
was technically taken by a landmark photographer in 1839. He probably did not call it a selfie, though, and he definitely did not post it to his story. The modern version of the selfie came about in 2002 with a group of Australians who dedicated a website to the concept. This of course, was built using digital cameras.
Now, even grandmothers of millennials have begun to take selfies. It is a cultural phenomenon that a lot people argue represents an obsession with ourselves. Either way, the selfie is not likely to go away any time soon.
The professional photography world has been mildly inconvenienced by the smartphone. Wedding photographers complain about the guests who ruin professional photos with their amateur cell phone shots. Filters may cause some families to think their photos look professional. Also, cell phone cameras are becoming increasingly powerful.
Further, apps like Adobe lightroom have created the ability to significantly enhance the visual appeal of a cell phone photo at no extra cost. Still, most families will want to hire a professional for update photos every now and again. The big milestones like newborn photos and weddings will also be a draw for paying money on a photographer.
Overall, professional photographers still have the upper-hand over the cell phone mom taking amateur shots in the park. Although, that could change in the future and professional photographers are going to have to adapt to keep up with the demand of ever-evolving technology.
Smart phones have impacted our view of photography in monumental ways. There was a time when we could have never imagined carrying a powerful camera around in our pockets. Further, we could not have imagined editing photos in the palm of our hands and instantly sharing them with our friends. Technology has done amazing things for the world of photography, that is without a doubt true.