The Emerging Landscape Of Photography

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The end of the 20th century saw a significant increase in our ability to capture images, with photography becoming a true mass medium. Largely driven by the proliferation of smartphones and our ability to edit, store and share images, what’s the picture look like for the future of this category?

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2. TECHTALK - THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF PHOTOGRAPHYThe end of the 20th century saw a significant increase in our ability to capture images,with photography becoming a true mass medium. Largely driven by the proliferationof smartphones and our ability to edit, store and share images, whats the picturelook like for the future of this category?By Oliver Robinson and Heribert TippenhauerPhotography has the capacity to provide images illustrates the consequent decline in the compactof man and his environment that are bothcamera category, with total value down 14% in theworks of art and moments in history. Cornell first half of 2012.Capas description of photography outlinesThis disruption follows a pattern evident in thetwo objectives: documenting the present, andportable gaming market. When the equivalentproducing an artistic interpretation of it. experience on a smartphone improves at a fasterLooking at the first objective, video is arguably rate than the stand-alone device, were less inclinedbetter suited to recreating the present. Indeed,to carry one (much less purchase one). Eventually,the advent of 3D could raise the bar even higher, the stand-alone device is either rendered obsoletewith the increasing preference for integratingor evolves into a niche market for needs that itsmultimedia elements within digital publications smartphone competition cannot meet.being perhaps an early indicator here.So, what of the second objective? Will the creative Logically, this should be bad news for cameraand artistic elements of photography provemanufacturers. However, a closer look at themore resistant to changes in our technologicaldata shows considerable growth at the high-endlandscape?of this category. With digital single-lens reflexcameras (SLRs - total value up 11% in the firstSmart-photography half of 2012) and a new generation of compactSmartphones have changed the nature ofsystem cameras (up 56%), the average price paidphotography, not only in expanding camera by consumers globally for a stand-alone cameraownership, but also in ensuring that our camerasin 2012 has actually increased from 206 toare in our hands (or at least, in our pockets)223.throughout the day. Thanks to this accessibility, Encouragingly, this high-end growth is almostwe now produce more photographs than ever enough to offset the value lost at the low-end.before. So, whats driving it?The vast quantity of images collected is changing How we all became photographersthe way we document life, both simplifying andGrowth in smartphone adoption may havecomplicating the task for historians of the future. brought photography to wider audiences. WeBut what does it mean for manufacturers today?can also assume that this growth has encouragedCrucially, as the quality of smartphone cameras wider participation. However, this does not seemhas increased, theyve become good enough for enough to explain the growth in the high-endmany of us; the need for an even better stand-camera category and we also need to look beyondalone camera is decreasing. Our global sales data the camera itself.GfK 2012 3. TECHTALK - THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF PHOTOGRAPHYTwo of the key differences between smartphonefield of interested amateurs. Its these enthusiastscameras and their predecessors are integration that are likely to be driving the high-end cameraand connectivity; integration with other growth outlined above, equipping them to (atfunctionality on the device, and connectivity with times) compete with professionals.the rest of the ecosystem they inhabit. As anSo, what does all of this mean for the future ofexample, consider these two methods of sharing photography?a photograph: Photo opportunitiestaking it with a digital camera, sideloading itFor a long time, success in this category wasto a computer, uploading it to a website and defined by the ratio between picture quality andsending the link to a friend price. Smartphones have competed with this,taking it with a smartphone and uploading it driving accessibility, sociability, and engagementto Facebookwith photography across a wider audience.Working together, the products and services have Though image quality may have become a hygienestreamlined the user experience and socialized factor (at least, relative to past importance),the activity. The 300 million photos uploaded to significant opportunities remain at the highFacebook daily are testament to their success. end where a growing segment of enthusiasticAlongside socialization, apps like Instagram haveamateurs are seeking increasingly professional-empowered users to edit and manipulate their grade solutions. Devices like Samsungs newphotographs. Such easy-to-use apps provide Galaxy camera, which offer a transitional stepanother example of simplified solutions drivingbetween the integrated, socialized world ofwider engagement with the category (Instagramsmartphone cameras and the serious, financialalone recently passed 80 million users ).investment of SLRs and Compact Systems, also seem well positioned.The connectivity of devices including smartphones,tablets and televisions has provided a further However, while product innovations will continue tocatalyst to engagement with photography. The move the category forwards, the most significantsynchronization of these platforms, and take-innovations are likely to come through services;up of cloud services that function across them,harnessing our growing engagement with theis improving the accessibility of our photocategory to integrate it further into our digitalcollections. Increasingly, we can view our photos at lives. Enabled by technology, were getting closerany time, in any place and across different devices. to another of Cornell Capas ideas: the camera reallyThe cumulative impact of these changes isis becoming an extension of ourselves. perhaps most evident in the ongoing debate aboutwhether amateur photography is impacting on itsFor further information, please contact:professional counterpart. While Instagram doesntOliver Robinson, orreplace the skill set required for professionalHeribert Tippenhauerphotography , its undoubtedly expanding the heribert.tippenhauer@gfk.comGfK 2012