Is photography as an art form still relevant today?

As far as I remember, we used to have Display, Illustration, Calligraphy/Typography, Photography and Print as specialisation subjects for the BFA Applied Art graduation course.

Even I preferred Illustrations over Photography. And my decision still stands true today.

Before choosing Photography for your life-long venture, let me explain a few points I want you to consider.

Is Photography Artform or Just Technique?:
What first thing you do in photography today is you have to buy a camera first. Now, all are digital cameras, so choosing a lens, filter, and measuring light can be fixed at a later stage. Post-production is dominating over pre-production and production planning. It is supposed to be Preproduction, i.e. Planning should be 80 or 90% of your time. Production should take, i.e. Actual execution should be 5% of the time. And post-production time should be 5% or nil as you have already planned everything. But it is precisely the opposite now.

Modern Mobile Phones:
Apple iPhone 15 Cameras with Massive Storage And production quality apps available at your fingertips. All apps are almost free.

Photo Sharing Web & Mobile Apps:
With Instagram, we hardly visit real-world exhibitions happening around the locality. Now, everyone posts their photos on Instagram and other social networks.

Inferior or No Value for Photography Services:
As I mentioned above, every photo is available in high quality within milliseconds, and nobody intends to buy photo prints. So photographer have been losing their business for a long time now. Now, every age/gender individual has their phone, so the importance of hiring an Expert Photographer is gone.

Costly and Bulky Digital SLR Cameras:
Old-fashioned cameras are like things of the past, as you get the same functionality with no effort at the exact cost of your mobile phone. So you buy a phone instead of just a standalone camera. As you know, the phone has internet, built-in, precise location meta tagging for photos. And you don’t have to buy extra accessories available on your phone.

Rise of AI-Generated Imagery:
With the rise in Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI) is readily available to the public at a low cost. The need for a photographer is almost as if the client can generate their images through text commands within 30 seconds. So ideas for the digital world, including social media, blogs and video blogs, can be generated without the hassle of hiring a photographer, which will take time for negotiations and an almost long process of a minimum of seven days to get the images. Even the relevance of stock photography portals is out of the mind of businesses, as any competitor or person can use the same ideas, as they have a limited inventory of images with repeating faces and no brand value.

Renting Studio in the Real World:
So with AI-generated images, who needs to rent a Studio for the day and the same task can be done within seconds at a fraction of the cost, sitting in the luxury of home, even travelling on a train or bus with a working internet connection using a handheld mobile phone.

Cheap or No Value Against Fine Art Professions like Painting and Sculptures:
You may have heard this conversation that Fine Art has a higher value than photography. Painting can’t be copied, as it takes years of practice to acquire that level of skill set. But for photography, you need luck and a camera. And AI-Generated Photos killed photography’s fame, fortune and importance.

Let me know your thoughts and your opinions about my observations above.

Thanks & Regards
Mandar Apte

Published by Mandar Apte

Mandar is a Mumbai-based multi-disciplinary designer with UX/UI, Logo, Symbol, and Brand Identity design expertise. He currently runs his Mudrkashar Linguistic Apple iPhone, iPad, and Mac app business in the heart of Mumbai city.

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