The New Yorker article Goodbye, Camera is a thought provoking article suggesting that the era of the networked device will displace the need for a camera:
One of the great joys of that walk was the ability to immediately share with family and friends the images as they were captured in the mountains: the golden, early-morning light as it filtered through the cedar forest; a sudden valley vista after a long, upward climb. Each time, I pulled out my iPhone, not the GX1, then shot, edited, and broadcasted the photo within minutes. As I’ve become a more network-focused photographer, I’ve come to love using the smartphone as an editing surface; touch is perfect for photo manipulation. There’s a tactility that is lost when you edit with a mouse on a desktop computer. Perhaps touch feels natural because it’s a return to the chemical-filled days of manually poking and massaging liquid and paper to form an image I had seen in my head. Yet if the advent of digital photography compressed the core processes of the medium, smartphones further squish the full spectrum of photographic storytelling: capture, edit, collate, share, and respond. I saw more and shot more, and returned from the forest with a record of both the small details—light and texture and snippets of life—and the conversations that floated around them on my social networks.
Reading through this quote I was left with a question – is the networked device destroying the camera .. or is it destroying the moment? He spent his time slogging through the mountains, shooting his photos, editing, instagramming and texting instead of .. enjoying the mountain path and the moment. I can just see him doing what I see so often in beautiful travel destinations .. this fellow tripping along, distracted, glancing up from his phone while he types and Facebooks … Seen it 100 times.
Does it enhance the moment? Personally, I don’t think so.
When I am shooting with a camera I am in the moment, observing, enjoying – not thinking about who I am going to share the picture with. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a time for the camera phone, but for me there will always be a time for a camera.
It would be interesting to hear what others think.
(San Francisco, China Town)