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Ignite DC #5

Erin McCann

Take my picture--but how?

From the rich man's daguerreotypes to the everyman's Kodak Brownie to the beautiful Leica M4 to those first big hulking DSLRs to that cell phone in your pocket, picture-taking has evolved and exploded over the last 200 years. It is simultaneously an art, a social connection, a hobby, a profession. What does the future have in store for these stolen moments?

Photography right now is already a splintered world, and lines have been drawn between artists, fans, professionals, amateurs and casual observers. When a $50 phone can make an image that is in many ways indistinguishable from one made with a $3000 DSLR, what's the point in spending the money on the bigger toy? When that DSLR comes with HD video capabilities, is the photograph even the point anymore? When everyone with a twitpic account can send their photo straight to CNN, is there even a point in hiring photojournalists anymore? And what's with these people still shooting film? Don't we know it's already the future?!

We are the last generation that will inherit our parents' shoeboxes full of nostalgia and snapshots. But Flickr and Facebook won't last forever, so what will become of all those pixels we've shared? What will our legacy be to our own kids? We can already make the most eye-poppingly gorgeous images ever seen by man, but what's the point if no one will be able to read them a few decades from now?

About Erin McCann:

Editor. Occasional writer. Lover of photographs, coffee, old things and Scrabble-legal words.

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