Will cameraphones kill off DSLRs? Juha Haataja of Light Scrape attended a speech at the SHOK Summit in Helsinki and reports that he heard that claim from Anssi Vanjoki of Nokia. Note also Juha's eye-rolling last sentence. Reminds me of an old favorite story about the consultants Harold Wills hired in the early 1920s who concluded that there were three million automobiles on the roads of America and that the market was saturated.
But it might not matter if there will be no more cameras in the future, because photography itself might be "over"—this according to a provocative question posed by an SFMoMA Symposium that's stirring up a lot of attention.
It's not the question that's important, however—it's the answers. SFMoMA has indeed assembled a stellar panel of experts, and rummaging through their thoughts is intriguing. Philip-Lorca DiCorcia notes that "The most realistic of mediums seems to be suffering from a detachment from reality." Joel Snyder of the University of Chicago, whose book and exhibition of Timothy O'Sullivan's expedition work was formative for me, says that "What has been called 'pure' photography continues to have its defenders and collectors, curators and historians, but the audience it has today is generally limited to the audience it had."
Not around here.
(Thanks to William Stothers and Bill Poole)
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Thom Hogan: "Will cameraphones kill off DSLRs? No. As I outlined in my 'Camera Redefined' series, camera phones essentially cannibalize the low end compact camera market. With 6 billion people on the planet, we currently have 5 billion cell phone contracts. Cell phones are selling at higher uptake rates than cameras, by far, so as they get more sophisticated cameras in them, they displace the low-end compacts pretty easily. The iPhone goes 5mp this year, and a decent 8mp is just around the corner.
"If you remember back to the film days, the biggest selling cameras were disposable. Essentially, camera phones take the role of disposables in the digital world. And just as disposables put pressure on low-end film compact sales, the same thing happens again. Indeed, we're seeing an almost perfect repeat of what happened with film cameras, only faster. The camera companies know this, and their only problem is that they don't seem to be able to figure out any path to start the whole camera replacement cycle over again (e.g. digital replaced film, what replaces the current digitals? If it's cell phones, the camera companies lose)."
Mike adds: And speaking of that, I never linked to Thom's Camera Redefined summation, titled "State of Camera Design 2010," an oversight I hereby put to rights. It seems to me generally that long articles on the internet—like long videos for me—are exponentially less likely to be read in proportion to their length; but Thom's summation of his recent thinking is rewarding on so very many different levels. It's fascinating to acquaint yourself with his presentation to Nikon's top brass in Japan last month about the future direction of camera development.