Interview: The future and fate of photography (Part 2)By Ryan Noik 7 July 2016 | Categories: feature articles
On the back of his opinion piece on the photographic trends he anticipates in the months and years to come, we asked Hitendra Naik, director of innovation, Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Intel about how innovation will likely change the face of photography as a whole.
TS: What impact do you think trends such as augmented reality and 360 degree photography, will have on images?
HN: I think these add another level to our visual imagery. Photography has evolved. If you compare it to music, music has always been more diverse in terms of genres, formats (vinyl, CD, MP3) and ways of consuming (players, live). Arguably, photography has been more one dimensional, but the amount of different forms and the degree of fidelity is growing. People’s understanding of the field of photography in everyday life is also going to evolve substantially. It has gone from capturing moments, to sharing, to visual communication – and through this, adding more meaning and purpose.
New trends are always arising with the arrival of new technology, however, only some move into the mainstream. For example, stereoscopic 3D photos have remained niche, with 3D cameras not really taking off in mass adoption. There is greater manipulation and post-processing in today’s photography due to the growth in computing and editing apps, positioning more power in consumers hands. Intel has been at the forefront of building the technology not just in client devices (such as PCs, tablets) but in the cloud (including servers, datacentres) and everything in between from analytics to dynamic meta-tagging optimisation, and so on. These new use cases and abilities are as a result of the stitching together of numerous technologies and eco-systems from hardware to software to services, which really is Intel’s strength.
TS: Do you think there will be more of a blurring of boundaries between still and moving or even interactive images, or do you anticipate each having their own place moving forward?
HN: Photography is becoming more diverse with multiple kinds of visuals emerging that are appropriate for the specific context and tone of different forms. Our available choices – like what visual message to use, when to use them, and how to make the biggest impact – will become more varied. There are now more choices to relay a message. For example, still photography can be used to tell a different story to a three second loop or interactive image. Already, in still photography, we are making decisions on the fly around what filter to use, if we want to blur the sides of images, or to pop the key focus of the visual or tint a “feeling” into the scene. Different types of image genres add another level of creativity when relaying a message.
TS: What do you think are the cameras of the future? It is well known that smartphones have had a large effect on compact cameras. For example, do you think the camera as we have known it will disappear entirely? Also, where do more specialized, “prosumer” and professional cameras (for example, DSLRs and mirrorless offerings) fit into the future landscape?
HN: My experience in areas such as music, gaming and entertainment has led me to believe that while many things change, eventually some hybrid versions come back full circle. Let me explain this further: Photography is now a form of visual communication rather than capturing moments. So devices that service this need to have connectivity to instantly share images. Also, people will compromise on the quality of images for greater convenience. You have already seen ‘lens add-ons’ for smart phones entering the market, and I envisage companies developing housings for phones to allow for better images. DSLR still has the best image quality and settings, and they have reinvented themselves to be high-end video cameras. Camera companies need to constantly evolve and remain relevant, adding new features and capabilities as they come into the market place. But the core competencies will remain – good images and video, connectivity and usability.
TS: Finally, what are your views on the future of photography as an art form? Do you still foresee a place for artists – those who have made a livelihood of understanding and using colour, light, perspective, composition etc for a desired effect? Or do you think automation will continue to impact on photography as being regarded as an art form in its own right?
HN: Photography will continue to grow as an art form. Because the tools of photography have gone mainstream to a degree, I believe that people will now better understand the features of exciting, skilful photography, and the capabilities of our photo artists, and in this way, hopefully, they will develop greater appreciation for the art form. If you take gaming as an example: as it became more popular and more accessible on different platforms, avid gamers began buying higher-end PCs, and so the high-end gaming market also grew in order to compete. In this way, the higher-end photography market will grow. Competition is always good for an industry, so as the mainstream looks to experiment and reach the next level to fuel their passion, professionals will have to innovate and set themselves apart.
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