Tree, Lembert Dome, Yosemite
A while after I visited the Ansel Adams exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art, I thought about those young photographers that never really were exposed to Modern Photography (the aesthetic, not the magazine). New photographers that only know the digital process are not aware of the major technological constraints of analog photography. These constraints defined much of what could be photographed and we learned to create within the confines of these constraints.
The technological growth of digital photography has been so rapid and the breadths of the techniques available is so bewildering that, as a whole photographers seem to be engaged in a lot of experiments trying to figure out what photography is really supposed to be in a world that is constantly changing.
The speed of change is not surprising because photography has essentially gone from physical to virtual. In the past, one needed to purchase specific equipment to create photographs. It took a lot of time to design, test, manufacture, publicize, and distribute physical products. Now everyone can create photographs with equipment we all use (smart phones, computers and printers), and use software to process images and share them via the internet. The virtual world changes at a speed that far outstrips the physical world. The time needed to update software is much quicker and the distribution of a finished upgrade is instantaneous. This path will only continue to accelerate as technology continues to advance.
I feel a bit sad (and a whole bunch older) knowing that the technology that I used up until about ten years ago is now relegated to display in a museum.