Technology drives the evolution of our industry.
When I started photography in the 1990s, there was no digital capture. Photoshop was utilized after negatives were "digitized" by scanners. We sent film off to developers, had proof sheets made, then enlargements. Retouching was basic dark room adjustments. Drum scans and digital retouching was in its infancy. However, by the early 2000s digital capture was gaining a foothold in the "practicality" mentality and cost efficiency. From a production standpoint, cost savings were a plus, however, the increased control and flexibility were what was driving me to the new medium. My generation grew up on computers and it was second nature to adapt to the changing industry. As an assistant, my value was increased significantly due to my expertise in adapting to the "new" and the "now" of technology. Through digital retouching, we are able to transform celebrities in to super models. Perfect skin into your 50s. Once digital capture was able to replace film, the "digital darkroom" was not just the future, it was a necessity. Photographers had to become versed in computers and the software that drove the processing, the archiving, the manipulating of files. There were new worlds to understand about Gamut, Histograms, CMYK pre-press, RGB color space, black point density, etc. Technology's drive toward digital made photography more accessible to creatives, drove down the physical cost of production, BUT... increased the "man hours" and demands on the photographer/image creator. We took over the job of 1) developer, 2) pre-press, 3) retoucher, 4) proof printer and editor, 5) scanner operator/digital convertor, proof publisher, and image distributor. These skills were added to your already full load of experience as the lead : lighting expert, camera operator, casting director, location scout manager, executive producer, art director, key problem solver, and ultimate decision maker. But in my opinion, this is what makes this job exciting and interesting. You get to collaborate with people who are experts in all the above areas.
The New Future
Cameras today have the ability to capture HD video. SO, it is the "now" that the photographer of yesterday is now the Director/Videographer of today (...in addition to our responsibilities of delivering the stills). This is an arms race and survival of the fittest requires you to evolve.
I have always embraced technology; what it has to offer and what unlocked and, even, untamed the potential it holds.
I have perfected the "dual" production. My teams are equipped to handle both a video shoot and a still shoot, simultaneously.
This added twist to the photographers palate is exciting. I have only scratched the surface of the potential for "new" that has just been cracked wide open.