Are advances in camera phones signalling the end of photography?

There have never been so many people taking photographs on a regular basis; however, is the use of smartphones killing the art form? Some professional photographers are embracing the changes in technology, whilst others believe that photography is being destroyed.

Are advances in camera phones signalling the end of photography

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A recent article in the Guardian brought together opinions from some of the most celebrated photographers in the world. These ranged from Mexican snapper Antonio Olmos, who claims that ‘photography is dying’ to British fashion photographer Nick Knight, who completed two large assignments using only the iPhone.

The modern choice

Annie Leibovitz famously said that the iPhone was today’s ‘snapshot camera’, as reported in the Telegraph. This highlights the trend of foregoing expensive cameras in favour of camera phones.

With exceptions, such as Knight, professional photographers are still sticking with more traditional equipment, despite being faced with increasing competition from amateurs armed with camera phones.

This costs-cutting trend is particularly prevalent in the news world, where budget-conscious editors are lured into the amateur marketplace rather than forking out professional fees. Why send a member of staff or a freelance photographer to a far-flung location when local amateurs could provide perfectly useable pictures that can be whizzed across in a flash? The economic benefits are not hard to see.

Low-quality images?

Photographers such as Olmos believe that the likes of the iPhone cannot offer the same sort of quality as a good camera, especially in print, which he calls the ‘ultimate expression’ in photography.

Renowned Guardian snapper Eamonn McCabe agrees, claiming that prints have a depth that cannot be replicated by digital images. This is one of the reasons why people would still choose a professional London or Bournemouth wedding photographer, for example, to record their big day rather than relying on amateurs and their smartphones.

Another reason why professionals such as may not feel under threat is the skills they possess, not to mention their experience in their chosen field. This can be as important as equipment when it comes to capturing those once-in-a-lifetime moments.

Even Olmos admits that he will continue in his profession as a result of his skills. Just as a good word processing programme cannot make someone a writer, nor can an Instagram app or a camera phone create a photographer.