This is what I wrote three years ago in October. How accurate were my predictions?


If you haven't read this before you will either agree or gnash your teeth and squeal in derision. Or both. Take a taste....


  1. I think you nailed it, Kirk.

    I was the 70+ guy there, eyeing the Nexus Zoom, a camera with a phone function. Current infatuation is a phone, the Huawei P9, for the monochrome sensor and Leica lens. I'm interested only in the camera part. It's fun to be a contrary cuss.

  2. True then, true now.

    If we are storytellers then we need to learn to tell stories.

    Gear lust/porn will always be with us and will help float R&D but the market for images will always be determined by the people who tell the best tales.

    I want to thank all the hobbyists out there who have helped drive the gear development these many years that allow me to more easily make a living.

  3. I think the reason for the demographic and gender phenomenon that you observed is that photography has two aspects - it can be used as a medium for artistic expression but on the other hand has a strong technical and scientific nature. Due to the technical aspect, it is suitable as a technical hobby for male tinkerers - like e.g. model railroading. Now these hobbies have the tendency to become "unhip" after some time. In case of photography, this started already in the nineties, but the advent of digital gave it another attractivity boost. But as the technology matures, this is fading again. This is bitter for the camera industry, since these tinkerer hobbyists are the ones who spend most money on gear.
    On a related note: Just today I had to think of a school teacher of mine, who was a dedicated metric wave radio amateur. This was a pretty popular hobby here in Germany back in the eighties - nowadays, much less so. I guess photography as a hobby will have the same fate.

  4. Good grief! Has it been three years? Time flies when you're having fun!

  5. Well, heck, I'm using my camera like a phone because it's perfect for that - only much, much better. It's a Nikon V1 with the 18-35 equiv. (almost) permanently attached. Works kind of like my old Nikon F4 with a 24-70/2.8 in the late '90s. And, hey, just like the Zeiss Ikon late-1930s vintage camera I borrowed from my Dad in 1966. A few cameras got in the way and failed me because they didn't work like phones - a blasted Miranda film SLR, yuck pah bleh. I guess the point of these reflections is that I operate a camera pretty much the same way as I did 50 years ago. The discipline hasn't changed, and what brings a photo to life hasn't changed. And if a lot of people want to try to circumvent that discipline with their phones, bravo and good luck. My girlfriend took a wonderful photo that I had enlarged to 16x20 and hung on my office wall for years. It showed a guy standing about as far out as he coould in the Pacific on tidepool rocks taking photos of a row of pelicans that streamed past single-file, darkly backlit by a gorgeous sunset. That photo was taken with an $8 Fujifilm disposable cardboard camera. The guy in the photo took lots of thoroughly crappy pics with a $4000 camera and lens. (Yeah, it was me.) Thing is, I don't care what kind of camera I or anyone else is using - they'll be able to use it to reflect themselves: careless, craftless, pretentious, art-for-art's-sake heartless, noisy and boisterous, obsessed with outward things, bling-bling. And people who appreciate self-restraint, craft, and an honest, expansive vision will not give them a glance.

  6. I have to find my reading glasses first.....

  7. Spot on. I am a leica film shooter from way back, but never liked the digital offerings. And a 'Blad (rented) and LF person too. My Olympus E1 is still spot-on for macro, with the ringflash.

    Usual camera either Ricoh GR (simply the best, and I mean that), Sony APC-S with all Zeiss or Zeiss/Sony lenses, plus legacy film, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus etc..

    But, and there is a but about small and mirrowless; I am buying a new Canon plus 24 mm TSE lens for a long term project on Brutalist Architecture. However, I suspect that my needs are but for a vanishingly small group of photographers.

  8. I read your post of 2013 with considerable interest. As an aged 87 year old I think what has changed most is how people view pictures. I forget who said it but he maintained, " that a good photograph should be returned to over and over again ,where we would learn something new". That is how I view my mainly street photographs.

    Now i watch amazed how the young flick through their photographs stored on the phone. They flick through one after the other, barely spending at most a few seconds before they move on. I often wonder if they actually see anything. That prompts me to think photography is finished. We have not got the time to stand and stare. As aged me is knocked out of their way as they gabble on their phones, I wonder if they see or hear anything.

    Alan Green London.


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