Is Digital 'Manual' Photography Becoming Niche?....
Just like any technology, photography and it's mechanisms for capture have gone through many changes within the 200 years or so that it has been with us, be it with smaller increments of change right through to major upheavals to the way we capture light and present it. The most recent of major change, through in reality it is not that recent, is the shift from analogue to digital photography, and despite the digital naysayers still hanging on to an analogue world, digital is here to stay.
Much in the same way that vinyl stalwarts held onto their bastion of sound, only to see a serge in interest grow to more than a ground swell, analogue photography is on the surface enjoying a similar renaissance.
After some consideration on the subject it occurs to me that this could be in part to do with some of the smaller incremental advancements within the digital camera sphere that have mounted up over the years. Most technologies are geared around making our lives easier, negating the need to think or do as much, and much as I personally hold an interest in technological advancements, I feel that it can have a detrimental effect in some artistic practices. On a personal level I feel a need to learn and understand the principals of photography and how they work together in 'capturing light' to form an image, so although my photography has grown from a digital seed, my state of mind and understanding is very much in the analogue camp. There is no doubt that digital sensors and auto focus systems have come on leaps and bounds in recent years, but although photography is more prevalent in the mainstream, less and less people understand anything but the 'auto setting'. This to me is such a shame, especially as the fundamentals of photography still get displayed on their digital screens housed on the back of most camera's, yet despite this, ISO, Exposure, F-Stop may as well be a hieroglyphic to the majority, although still playing a vital roll in how auto mode works.
So with all this in mind, has manual photography on digital camera's become a niche already? much in the way analogue photography has, furthermore is it this niche digital sector that is helping revive analogue as the digital 'manualiers' dig deeper into learning their craft?
Even as a digital child my path of discovery into photography has always been backwards glancing, mostly because with analogue / manual photography you are forced to learn and understand the key principals of image capture, and this is fundamentally important! because no matter how good the sensors get, you not only make compromises in how your picture is taken, you are also giving up creative control and your own personal style.....even a basic understanding of the exposure triangle can give you such creative freedom, this alone should be enough.
I fully understand that different people have different needs in their photography, but why would you not want to take the best pictures you can?
Something you may need to ask yourself!