Monday, 30 December 2013

Photography: the never-ending possibilities

'Camera 003' by Shutupyourface
under a CC license
Camera technology has been rapidly evolving through the years. Yes, I 've written before about that. But change is constant and multilevel. I believe that, to some extent, it is driven by the need to diversify in order to satisfy niche needs, rather than to achieve market domination.

True, some emerging products integrate improved technologies that ensure that the usual camera functions are carried out in a faster, more efficient or more user-friendly way. Better focusing speed, higher low light sensitivity with less image noise, larger sensors, smaller or lighter bodies, environmentally sealed cameras, stabilised lenses or sensors, are examples or improvements that aim the conventional photography experience.

But there, within the sea of consumer products, there are some few that aim at the curious child within us. Take a look at the Panono camera, for instance. It employs mostly conventional hardware, cleverly stitched together to produce 360 deg panoramas in fun way.

And then there are those small "wearable" cameras, such as Autographer, mecam, Narrative, etc. Also action cameras, such as GoPro, which are usually mounted on bikes, helmets, shoulders, etc.. And, of course, there is Google Glass which has put on the spot yet another camera niche.

Further to these examples, above, some have chosen to use conventional technology in an uncoventional way. For the shake of the argument, here are some vivid examples (in no particular order):
  1. A camera mounted on the back of the head of an arts professor, so as to take snapshots of whatever lies behind him at regular intervals. 
  2. A single fast action camera (a GoPro in this case) used to mimic the bullet time effect, which was made widely know in The Matrix movie (clip).
  3. X-ray snapshots of nature-like compositions.  Well, that's not exactly conventional for most people but it uses technology that has been available for quite a few decades.
I'm sure one can go on for longer on the topic of photography niches (HDR photography, IR photography, pinhole camera photography, light field cameras, even Kirlian photography) but my point is that, in photography, technology - while multiplying possibilities - have never seriously hindered creativity.