Digital Photography: A Revolution in Immediacy

Digital photography created a revolution in immediacy, eliminating the wait for film to be processed. In 1970 when Michael Grecco received his first film camera and began his adventure in photography. The process was to buy the film, load the film (be careful not to expose the film), shoot the pictures, unload the film, wait for the film to be developed, and then view the results. Those who had their own or access to a darkroom had a time advantage over other photographers who had to wait up to a week to retrieve their developed film and see the results of their work.

Michael Grecco practiced his skills at the apex of the technological advances in 35 mm dreams. From the mid-1970s through the early 2000s camera and film researchers, developers and manufacturers were introducing technological advances that were changing photography.

Introducing the Digital Camera

In 1995, the digital camera was introduced to the public. Expensive for the average person, the digital camera was soon comparable in price to film cameras. Then in 2000, a cell phone with a built-in camera hit the market. Digital photography, a revolution in photographic immediacy was sweeping the world at light speed.

The falling retail price of stand-alone digital cameras and the increase in technological capabilities of the cell phone camera meant that more people than ever were taking pictures. The immediacy of digital photography fits perfectly with a new way of life that demands instant gratification.

The internet hosted a new form of communication that offered an outlet to the new crop of digital photographers, social media. According to PetaPixel, film photography peaked in 2000 at eighty-five billion photos. However, according to photutoria, around 2.3 trillion photos will be taken every year by 2030.

The Democratization of Photography

The immediacy along with access to digital cameras in every phone has had an immense impact of interest in photography as an art. The digital photography experience offers the instantaneous output that social media requires, it also offers the photographer as an artist instant feedback. Professional photographers shooting athletes, fashion models, products, and landscapes can make instant adjustments to their lighting, angles, lenses, and other technical aspects of their project.

Michael Grecco began his career as an independent news photographer who offered his photos to wire services such as the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI). They in turn would sell the photographs to thousands of newspapers, magazines, and other outlets. Today the citizen photographer armed with a digital camera can fill the role.

Challenges of Digital Photos

The excitement of digital photography has its own challenges. The digital camera has created an oversaturation of the visual landscape. It is increasingly difficult to stand out in the sea of billions of photos per day. The pursuit of the perfect picture can push creativity and spontaneity to the back seat.

The digital camera indeed offers everyone a shot at being a published photographer. Those who are pursuing photography as an artist, documentarian, or history interpreter need to learn the fundamentals of photography. It is essential to learn how lighting affects photos. Michael Grecco offers insight into photographic lighting in two books The Art of Portrait Photography: Creative Lighting Techniques and Strategies , and Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Celebrity and Editorial Photography: