What do you think the next real revolution in photography?

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I don't think it's the "digital" as we are talking about it now.

I think it's going to involve high technology using some set of methods for capturing 3 dimensional images and then reproducing them on/in a very thin, convienent substrate casting a three dimensional image.

Boy would that be fun for portraiture.

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), January 10, 2002


Holography - I have seen some pretty impressive images projected into a predefined "space" from multiple computer projection units. The "projectors" were the size of a pack of cigarettes, and they produced an image roughly 6"x6". The first I saw was in the early '90s in a display at a university physics dept. The one that impressed me most was an image of a young woman - it was a crisp image of her face - that followed the viewer no matter where you moved. It was also animated/lifelike - she occasionally smiled and/or winked.
Imagine displaying a "slide show" of your landscapes this way.
Or sending a display of a shoot to the editor.
I can't wait.

-- Matt O. (mojo@moscow.com), January 10, 2002.

Andre you posed an excellent question... I would have to agree with you. In essence, it will be virtual reality.

-- Jim Billups (jim@jimbillups.com), January 10, 2002.

I agree with the previous posts. I also think that as this next revolution comes to be, whatever it is, there will be an accompanying splitting off of a strong traditional photography movement, kind of like an updated "straight photography" movement. With every technological advance we see (and I can't wait to see what the future holds), we usually see at least a small movement in the other direction. Should be interesting to see what comes about.

-- David Munson (apollo@luxfragilis.com), January 10, 2002.

Honestly, I would like the next big thing in photography to be vast improvements in the printing process - materials and chemicals that yield blacks far more light-absorbent than anything invented to date, tonal range, contrast, and resolution that can reproduce subtleties hidden deep inside negatives, and highlights that literally glow with a pure, unadulterated white.

With digital cameras becoming more popular among professionals, the only way to get B&W art photographers to join the bandwagon is to make a printing process that can meet and/or exceed the qualities of traditional/alternative printing processes.

All this technology should be good for something, right?

-- edward kang (ekang@cse.nd.edu), January 11, 2002.

I'm waiting something I read months ago about hyper-fast films with the resolution/contrast of actual low speed films... Perhaps a Mega- velvia 12800...

-- jose angel (acquatek@teleline.es), January 11, 2002.


much is possible to think of. For me, the particular question is: what has it got to do with Photography? There have always been new approaches to "pictures" (e.g. Computer Graphics). But these have not been something like Photography. In my opinion, it is an essential part of photography to capture the world as it is in a two dimensional image. All the secrets and techniques of photography are about taking snapshots from the real world to form an aesthetic two- dimensional picture. This (and other things) delimits photography from other visual arts, like painting, sculpture, film, computer graphics, etc. This does not mean that they could not be exciting alternatives. And of course, all these arts have something in common at a certain level of abstraction. But their techniques are discussed at different "places".


-- Thilo Schmid (tschmid@2pix.de), January 11, 2002.

Thilo, how would you feel about a holography type process as described that was developed not for the technology advance itself, but keeping in mind those processes which intuitively appeal to our biological sensibilities as humans, such as: passive bi-image capture process using traditional, refractive optics. (As opposed to some sort of laser triangulation scanning capture)

Instead of using computers with their ever-evolving storage formats to manipulate and store the image: advanced chemical/physical process would be used to record, develop, and display a high fidelity detailed, believable, and archival 3D likeness which is passively viewed? (ie, no batteries necessary to view the final image)

Finally, what if the process was inherently involved, yet perfectable by a single person through studied craftmanship with fiscally accessible materials?

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), January 11, 2002.

I asked this question of a local camera salesman in conversation, his answer 'Traditional photography could become the artform it always threatened to be'!

-- Charlie Skelton (charlieskelton@southend.gov.uk), January 11, 2002.

maybe the next step would be making a camera/printing medium that is easily used by a lay-person to yield the results of an artist/professional. no training or experience would be necessary. i guess it is kind of like what digital equipment tries to promise its users today ...

-- john nanian (jak@gis.net), January 11, 2002.


In my opinion, the nature of photography is not determined by technology. So, e.g., whether Digital Imaging is Photography is not a matter of digital equipment, but merely a matter of manipulation (e.g. where is the borderline to Computer Graphics?). In this sense, I don't see the holographic process as Photography (although it would be interesting to look at), because I think of two-dimensionality as an immanent "feature" of photography. Think of how photographers make use of light to suggest three-dimensionality. All this does not apply to holography in the same way (as is does play a different role in traditional "stereo photography"). Holographs may need different techniques to archive esthetic and compelling results. Interesting, but not Photography.


-- Thilo Schmid (tschmid@2pix.de), January 11, 2002.

I too see holography as more akin to sculpture or architecture than photography - it's about arranging objects in 3D, not 2D. I know that words can be flexible, but one has to draw the line somewhere.

One of the more interesting revolutions has already taken place as part of the digital switch. Behind all the hype and argument about resolution and tonal reproduction is another subtle change - the decoupling of aperture and shutter speed. Thus far, we only have a few small format users marvelling at how they can switch "ASA" for each , but sooner or later I'm sure this will be used for artistic effect. In particular, it allows some new ways of depicting the time structure of a scene.

As it is now, time and motion are largely shown as a blurring, or sometimes in the LF world by the distortions caused by the passage of a slow focal plane shutter (think Lartigue's racecar). With a digital sensor you can do new things by analysing and combining a sucession of frames in various ways. An example: it is quite common to take pictures of public places with no people in them by using a very long exposure so that only the constant elements appear in the final image. Imagine instead combining a succession of images taken over the same time period so that the non-constant elements were more prevalant. *All* the people that appeared in the scene during the day would represented and such an image would reveal patterns of use like hot and dead spots, as well as identify those individuals with way too much time on their hands.

-- Struan Gray (struan.gray@sljus.lu.se), January 11, 2002.

The next revolution in photography? I see an entirely new means of capturing images besides film and CCD. A device permitting resolution well beyond traditional film with an exposure range exceeding 10 stops. It will make the current crop of mega pixel digital devices look like eight track tapes, and Velvia like pinhole photos.

You could manipulate exposure and color balance with a viewing screen, which would show exactly what the print would look like.

-- Michael Mahoney (mike.mahoney@nf.sympatico.ca), January 11, 2002.

So, you're talking about one ot thoes 3-d sculpting machines like on Jurasic park III -- but colour! Dean

-- Dean Lastoria (dvlastor@sfu.ca), January 11, 2002.

This will be, I think, a somewhat contrary view. I don't think there is one (next revolution). At least not in the foreseeable future. The current evolution (not revolution) is about recording media, not photography. This is why many of the digital photography magazines (and some hardware manufacturers) can't get it right, and why the mainstream photo mags are only now climbing on. Film processing as we know it commercially is a very endangered species, as is film availability. Many of us will be hard pressed to continue without at least digitizing the image at the film plane because there literally won't be any choice. Thirty years ago the photo shop owner would have told you that without processing, you'd never buy a camera from him and he'll tell you that today, because the processing was the only part that made him any money. In 10 years most of that will be gone. The industry is/was driven by the print media for most of photography's life (Alright, I'll nod to the wedding photographers among us). Today, the term "print media" has become blurred, and its digitization that has blurred it, and the majority players are serving notice that film just isn't in the equation any more. Hopefully, there'll be enough of us to keep at least some film production lines up, but as they age... With a good bit of luck, digital backs will become cheap enough soon enough. The forward thinking LF photographer will equip himself mentally and technically as the opportunity presents. Boy, that sounded pessimistic, but actually its not - I'm looking forward to taking my 4x5 digital image (off my 150 year old technology) and piping it into my digital darkroom, which is a reality today (unfortunately, only to 6x12), and producing big gorgeous prints entirely under my control, instead of sending the LF stuff out as I have to do now.

-- Paul Coppin (coppin@execulink.com), January 12, 2002.

The next revolution will probably just encompass further enhancements to existing cameras and metering systems such as multiple on screen, or shiftable metering points, automatic hyperfocal settings, or DOF viewfinder scales. Possible; eyeglass displays thru optic cords. Incorporating sound will be the next "real" revolution in still photography. It will add the extra dimension that it now lacks. A sound track wil be added to the edge of the film like video film. Frames will encompass an audio reader.

-- Wayne Crider (waynecrider@hotmail.com), January 13, 2002.

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