Photography Evolution in Review 2014


So what will you remember about 2014 that was worth reviewing? Was it the Drone craze where people ante up to a flying camera or was it that you should never let monkeys take a selfie?

The drone photography business has taken off in such a way that the US National Parks have banned them forever from their midst.

A Geeky Drone Pilot gets roughed up at the Beach

Bad pilots who fly them in public have blood in their hands after crashing them into pedestrians. The craze has gone so far that even GoPro have announced they will come out with a flying camera as soon as their R&D engineers get back from their Christmas Holidays. Meanwhile frustrated single and bow legged women have gotten brave enough to beat up geeky drone pilots who fly their wares in public. That said, aerial photography in 2014 hasn't been all that good.

On another note, David Slater's predicament echoes some of the pain felt by photographers around the world when his monkey pix was made public domain. Technically, and this by legal definition, Slater should not have released it as a selfie because an animal can legally be the rights holder and not the human that owns the camera. His pictures went viral and made it to the top ten list of stories in 2014 in regard to the photography profession that went wrong.

Photography as a Profession

Being a photographer in 2014 has gotten more difficult. There are loads of photographers who cringe on admitting this one true fact that they lack the financial means to prepare for retirement. The successful ones (which are only a handful) gloat at their peers who can't seem to get ahead in the cut throat world of photography.

True. There are plenty of corporates in this world who hire photographers to do work. But these jobs hardly constitute a viable means to earn a living wage judging from the equipment and business savvy one needs in this world.

Remember that in the old world of analog film, photographers co-existed with color lab technicians who developed the prints needed for real world use. Today, everything is online and the onus is on the photographer to process, capture and edit photos all on their own for the same amount of fees—which does not take into consideration the amount of camera equipment, software and computers you need these days to conduct your business. Color lab technicians in the good old days were the go-to guys whenever you needed something done to your positive or negative film. Some even went as far as to manually touch up the negatives or positives to remove blemishes and such from actual film. Photography in its heyday supported a long string of down line jobs, from print makers, color labs and the printing press. Today, with the Internet Disruption model, this is no longer possible. It is basically you and your equipment that decides the way you conduct a business. As for digital prints for hanging on your wall, you can upload them to Flickr and order one online.

Photography went from becoming a hard skill to the Performing Arts where photographers had to suffer for their art without clients ever taking them seriously. Everyone is a photographer thanks to the iPhone and as long as you have 1,000 followers on Instagram, you're a pro. This is not expected to change in the near future and in 2014, I would like to say a silent prayer to all those photographers who have abandoned their dream for a stable monthly income in light of the demands of the real world.

Keeping up with the Joneses

So we have more megapixels in 2014 but camera companies are not making more money from it. So you have more more cameras with the same megapixel count. This has been one of the stories for 2014 and if you were one to fall for this old Jedi mindtrick, then you've been had.

Each time a sensor is created, millions are spent pouring into the research and development process. To think they will be able to give you more pixels for cheaper is a defeatist strategy. People are taking more photos but not with actual digital SLR cameras or DCCs.

The Lumia 1020 still ranks on top of my list for a camera even though it's not really a camera in the first place.

Even though the Apple iPhone 6 ranks on top for color reproduction and low light performance, I'd rather have DNG files of scene I take to work them in post production for a better fit. Who cares if the iPhone can post to FB and Instagram all at the same time? Good pictures have to be edited in some way unless you were using a Leica camera with those expensive glasses for lenses.

Behold! the MA!
Speaking of Leica, they will take the headline for the only company to have come out with a top spec analogue camera! Yes! Film lives! Then again you need to check the price tag before you jump for joy. The new Leica MA weighs in at just over US$4700. It is totally manual, no light meter, nada. When you consider the Leica MP, a pro spec manual camera that sells for just over U$4900, that 200 dollar difference starts to look shady.

Compare the MP

The MP was built for professionals, namely press people who love winding each frame mechanically to capture a picture. It has the same flash x-sync and shutter speed as the MA. Either Leica has a wicked sense of humor or they are just removing old unsold MPs by cannibalizing their parts to make a new budget model (though the term budget may not necessarily apply in this case).

Regardless of where you stand these days. I would like to wish you all a great year ahead shooting can capturing moments that truly matters instead of trying to take a dozen selfies each time you chance across a bathroom mirror.

Photography will still be around and for better of worst, your best bet is to not to buy into the hype and use only what you need to get a good picture.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All!