27 December 2019

Robin Wong: “Real Reasons Why the Camera Market is Shrinking”

On the other hand, in group 2, the camera users are of a different breed of species altogether. These camera users bought cameras because photography seems like fun. The excitement in the beginning was real, everything was new, discovering a whole new world of photography was indeed thrilling. However, there was never any genuine interest in photography, they shoot because everyone else is shooting. Fear of losing out is real. They have a camera dangling around their neck because that was what everyone else was doing. Guess what happens when the excitement wears out, after half a year, after a year or two, when there was nothing left new to find out? if there is no inner desire to shoot, if photography is not a true passion, the interest in using the camera fades away very quickly. This is the hard truth – not everyone who has a camera is a photographer.

Here comes a big problem, social media promotes the culture of me, me, me and me. Photography has never been about the photographer (so literally), photography is about the photographer shooting the world around them. Hence the lens was pointed outward from the shooter not inward. Take a look at your Facebook friends, the Instagram accounts that you follow, any celebrities or “influencers”, the content published online was ALL about themselves and the lives that they live. Is it not the food that they eat, the places they travel to, the parties they are at, the dress that they wear, the cat or dog cute poses or that amazing car that they just bought? Photography, which was a genuinely powerful tool of art and documentation has been vilified and reduced to mere selfie tools. Photography has become selfish, self-centric adventure and is losing the core meaning of why the camera was invented in the first place.

Robin Wong

Interesting article that does a good job of capturing important social and technological trends behind the decline on the camera market. On the technology side, as some have pointed out numerous times, at this point the evolution of the camera is mostly incremental, and even the transition to mirrorless has nowhere near the same impact as the previous transition from film to digital.

I have to agree with reason no. 2 as well, many people pick up photography as a fun hobby and never stick with it past the initial excitement. I know a couple of my friends who went so far as to purchase entry-level dSLRs, only to abandon them for the smartphone in a couple short months. As for reason no. 3, social media and Instagram in particular, I feel no need to add anything to what the photographer writes above. The waning interest in ‘serious’ photography is also partially responsible for the decline of Flickr as a prominent destination for photographers on the web.

As for the 4th reason, the stagnation of photography as art, I don’t quite agree with the author. Art making is, in my opinion, a inherently subjective and personal story, so I don’t think this sort of general statements are valid. Just because you as an artist feel stagnant, doesn’t mean the art as a whole stagnates with you. Globalization and the rise of incomes throughout the world have introduced cameras to more people than ever. As their unique vision and viewpoints get translated into photography, we’re bound to see different expressions and new forms of art.

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