Is Photography Dead? My personal take on the fast-rising popularity of Mobile Photography

(*Photo courtesy of fstoppers.com)

I couldn’t help but wonder if there’s any truth to the debate that Photography is really dead now that modern technology has given mankind that option to enjoy photography in fun and “relatively affordable” ways thanks to the birth of smartphones along with the sudden surge in popularity of such photo applications like Instagram, Streamzoo and others. I’ll go straight to the point folks, I don’t believe that Photography, in any way, is dead.. Photography is still very much alive and kicking but it just so happens that a vast majority of people are now into that stage of enjoying this new form of photography for several reasons: It’s fast, accessible, fun to play around and relatively “hassle and danger-free.” Let’s face it, Photography is a really expensive hobby.. from purchasing a DSLR body to the numerous lenses to suit your needs and down to the other stuff like cleaning cloth, blower and what have you, one way or the other you need to stash out a relatively huge chunk of money to get you started in photography, if this is way out of your budget’s league, you always have the option to get yourself the more affordable Compact Digital Cameras or the ‘Point and Shoot’ cameras.. but somehow these cameras can be quite pricey as well if you want to purchase units that has the same (or almost the same) power-packed functions of a DSLR. The affordable ones may not be quite as promising but if your goal is just to take random photos of anything and everything then this is your way to go. Here in the Philippines, purchasing a camera became a huge trend among a majority of Filipinos that it overshadowed the Pinoy’s insatiable craving for the latest in mobile phone models and gadgets… at least for some time.

But with the birth of the smartphone and the fast-rising popularity of applications (or more fondly called as “Apps”), photography yet again was bred into a new form and it has certainly attracted more than half a billion people in this planet to use this technology anytime, any day and anywhere when they need to capture those precious moments right on the dot… now anyone can be a photographer in their own right … thus the ‘Instagram Age‘ was born. I’ve seen the rise of Instagram and its users swell in such a short time that it made me wonder what is it with this application that got everyone so hooked on to it. It was only recently when I decided to get an entry-level smartphone that I prompted myself to download the Instagram application and see for myself what magic and charisma does this ‘photo app’ has. After going through several trial and error phases and familiarizing myself with its functionality and stuff, I now know the reason why… and I find it quite reasonable in my own opinion.

Getting yourself a smartphone will be your first priority, there are some reputable brands out there that are selling relatively affordable ‘Android-powered’ units since most people couldn’t afford to buy an iPhone. Getting the right specs that is enough to get the Instagram app going is quite enough, and all you need is one download from Google Play and you’re good to go. People like to share and upload their photos online, and all you need is a good Wi-Fi signal to get you connected to Instagram (or to any social networking sites) and voila! Your friends, relatives or even the entire world can get to see your uploaded photos in no time, unlike with real cameras where you have to sit in front of your desktops or laptops and connect your cameras with USB cords to be able to transfer first your photos onto the computer and then only can you upload them to Facebook, Twitter, etc. (unless if you still want to apply some post-processing work on your photos using Photoshop or Lightroom.) Cameras, whether compacts or DSLR units, can oftentimes get really bulky to take along with unlike with smartphones where you just slip it inside your side pockets and that’s it, when you see something worth taking a snapshot, just get it out from your pockets, shoot it and upload it later to Instagram. The fun part comes in when you play around with the filters that comes along with the Instagram app, and there are other photo applications as well that has exceeded the number of ways you can play around with your photos before uploading it, and it makes wannabe (or even serious) photographers get that feel of jazzing up their photos like a pro without a hitch. Photo apps, like Instagram, unleashes the creativity of some individuals who wouldn’t want to complicate themselves with a bunch of stuff to achieve the look they want for their photos, a single touch and swipe of a finger will simply do the trick.

And finally, the risk of taking photos using smartphones outside is relatively minimal than taking out your cameras in the open making you a potential target for snatchers and robbers watching silently on the sidelines. There were only a few instances that I brought along my cameras with me whenever I went to a place that I knew I would feel safe to take it out and shoot without worries, gone are the days where you can be like a foreign tourist walking in and around some unfamiliar territory with a camera slinging around your neck and take snapshots one after another “like a boss”, as they say nowadays. Compared to a smartphone where it is much easier to carry along and at the same time more discreet to take photos with and easier to conceal from prying eyes out to do no good. I must admit that my smartphone ain’t at par with the high-end ones that has bigger megapixels, sleek auto-focus function and that much-needed LED flash to capture decent photos, but if you’re just like me who goes for random snapshots of things and whatnots along the way then share them online for the world to see, then this is not a problem at all.

Photography is not dead, and it will never be that’s for sure… But personally I think there is still that defining line that separates Photography and Mobile Photography in today’s fast-moving world of ever-changing technology. We can never erase the fact that having a real camera in your hand and looking through the viewfinder holds much more essence than just lifting aloft your mobile handset and snapping that virtual shutter button with a touch of your finger. Whether we like it or not, Photography is not an affordable hobby.. despite how much you improvise yourself to cut through the expenses, you will still need to put out a lump sum of money to accomplish this, it may not be by the hundreds of thousands or more, yet it is still a big amount especially for those who wanted to get into photography but are tight on the budget. Mobile Photography has provided that solution by giving others that chance to unleash their creativity in fun, easy and affordable ways but it has yet to prove itself fully today and in the future to be at par with what Photography had established since the dawn of the first camera, and Instagram and the other photo applications are just avenues for more milestones and improvements to make this other form of photography accessible and enjoyable for everyone, pros and amateur shutterbugs alike.

(Postscript): I don’t know why am I being monitored by certain individuals for every new post I make… I don’t consider myself a popular blogger nor am I that “superstar famous” to be “stalked” for whatever reason they may have. To whoever this may concern, and most probably you’ll be getting to read this anyway, all I have to say is this…  I’m not doing this blog to compete nor to be popular in the blogging community, I am just an ordinary guy who wants to share his thoughts and his passion to the rest of the world and whether or not my posts get noticed, it’s not a problem with me.. I enjoy what I do and whether I get a gazillion likes or nothing at all, it doesn’t matter… traffic and stats are no big deal to me.. maybe they are to you and I really don’t give a rat’s behind about it. Your highfalutin comments are so obvious and reading them between the lines just shows how insecure you are where in fact there is nothing to be insecure about in the first place because in your make-believe world, you thought I’m competing and playing your “popularity game” inside your head.. It’s such a shame that you had to go this low and honestly, I feel more pity than anger with what you have been doing.. You’re simply fighting your own “invisible war” with yourself and don’t drag me into it.. it’s just plain absurd. It’s a pity that an established and popular local blogger like you would prey on an unsuspecting person like me who’s just minding his own little business in the blogging world. I feel sorry for you buddy,  please grow up and get a life, will you? And yes I will acknowledge you from now on as the supreme and ultimate blogger/trendsetter the world has ever known… I hope you are happy now so let’s all move along and go on with our lives in peace, okay?

Oh, and one more thing… If you will still insist in dragging this issue further then that’s your problem, I’ve said my piece and that’s enough. I’d rather waste my time on other things worthwhile than just getting myself all stressed with this uttermost nonsense. Our time in this world is short, my friend… do something positive… do something good for your soul and not by stepping on other people’s toes for whatever personal satisfaction you gain from it. I wish you well in everything… Thank you.

My apologies to all my sincere fellow bloggers and readers who might be reading this… I need to get this message across, I am only but human.

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