The sales figures for 'proper' cameras look set to fall yet again in 2016. Websites about such cameras are folding citing lack of advertising revenue as the reason and yet the world is increasingly full of people snapping away on their smartphones and posting their efforts on social media. So what exactly is happening to photography?
Well it might just be that genuine photographers are on the increase and gear / gadget heads have moved on to something else. Smartphone photographers don't seem to have much appetite for arguing about their picture taking purchases on the photographic internet and more and more of the camera manufacturers are aiming their new products at an increasingly smaller enthusiast market and / or are considering their seemingly marginalised position as the suppliers of desirable objects to a population still suffering the effects of bankers greed.
Cameras are getting bigger again. They are getting more complex and moving upmarket. The new Olympus E-M1 Mk II being a prime example of that. There is now no reason on earth to churn out endless small compact cameras in some forlorn hope that smartphone users will somehow want to 'upgrade'. Because, the best smartphones now produce great image quality anyway and their convenience and usability has all but eliminated the need to carry a phone plus a camera for the majority. And I have to admit, I for one think all of this is no bad thing.
At it's height the photographic internet was a dreadful place. Full of arrogant clowns insulting each other over the most trivial of reasons. None of it ever had or will have anything to do with the creation of images that reflect the world around us and everything to do with some kind of misguided tribal loyalty to a brand. With any luck those who chose to lash out in all directions at anyone not wise enough to think what they think or buy what they buy will move on to something else. Though to be honest I think we will be stuck with them for some time yet.
Hopefully those of us who are still passionate about photography and it's possibilities will do what we should have been doing all along. Spend less time wittering on about what we own and more time creating photographs. That's certainly what I've been doing lately and I suspect there may well be a correlation between the diminishing of the amount of people inclined to bicker about nothing and the rise of taking pictures as an integral and important part of everyday life. And finally we may be getting to the stage where what's in the image rather than what created it is the most important consideration. I live in hope.