Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ever Evolving

Barn and Pond, Dan Burkholder, 2009

Photography has forever been a process that has been done in steps. In the beginning it was time consuming and, given the chemistry involved, dangerous. However, as the medium evolved the steps became few and the time and chemistry involved decreased. With the advent of digital photography, the process became almost instantaneous. Almost, because those pixel pictures still need to make it off the camera and on to paper, or now as it seems in most cases, the Internet. This requires that a photo be sent or uploaded. Since camera phones have been around, that has been easy, but the photos low quality and not so hot. That has now changed. With smart phones becoming smarter and their cameras becoming stronger, the ability to take, process and output an images has be come something that can be done with a single device in a short time.

Enter The iPhone.

This device is used by many people in many ways. With no shortage of applications it can be tailored to fit the individual's wants and needs. In the case of Dan Burkholder that is a one stop photo shop. He captures, processes and, I images, outputs his images to his site all from his iPhone. And now he is even offering workshops to that end.

Where does this leave the purest? Gasping for breath and trying to keep up. Photography has, since it's invention, been an ever changing medium that is constantly reinventing it self. It pulls from other artistic mediums and, since it is seen by many as the place where art meets science, why wouldn't it pull from there as well. In the early days it was with the elaborate chemicals and processes that were utilized to create images. It is as if photographers such as NiƩpce, Daguerre, Fox Talbot, Herschel and even Bostic and Sullivan, are part artist, part 'mad scientist.' It seems only natural that as we move out of the industrial era and into the digital age, photography should follow. And so it has. We have seen Agfa close and Apple take over; waved good bye to Kodachrome (sorry Paul Simon) and said hello to 50 mega pixels. But unlike the industrial era where bigger is better, in the digital age pocket size is the right size. And so photography has followed. Cameras are getting smaller and smaller while allowing for fine details. The iPhone has allowed that process to go one further. Acting as a mini computer, it allows the user to snap, process and output all with one device. Gone are the days of development, D-76 or Lightroom. It can now be done in the palm of one's hand.

Does these mean it is over for the super computers used to work on large digital files? Never. Thought photography has evolved though it's various stages, none of them seem to be truly gone. There are those still working in many of the antique process such as wet collodion, daguerreotypes, platinum/palladium and others despite the time and harsh chemistry needed. And thought there has been a drop off in the products available for sliver gelatin printing, it like the others, will never be truly gone. So it will be for digital photography as we know it today. Photoshop is in its eleventh revision. Each version of Photoshop could be seen (and is by some) as its own individual expression of the medium. So while we look at those working with platinum/palladium now as working in an antique process, our children may see those working or experimenting in Photoshop versions 7, CS and CS3 as working with past antiquated mediums. Who's to say,but it can be said that the one constant in photography is not 67 degrees but that it is an ever changing medium that never fails to be inspired by current technology and amaze with the collaboration of science and creativity.

1 comment:

Siobhan Egan said...

I really really like it. I do think you can mention a couple people who now use antiquated processes.. That couuple from Rochester.. the oster somethings?? I can't remember. Also, You have the word thought where it should be though... YOu could submit this somewhere.