There is debate about whether one can learn talent and talent it what it takes to be a great artist, but none of us are born with technique and the more technique that an artist has at his or her disposal, the more chance he has of being able to express his talent.
More strings to the bow.
Techniques have to be learned. At one time artists had to learn the latest techniques of producing a colour – some were harder than others. A machine will do all that now, but one still has to learn how to look, observe and transfer those observations onto a medium.
For a photographer that used to be to film using a film camera and thence to paper, usually in magazines and newspapers, although that was done by the printer. The photographer’s job is to record what he sees or wants other people to see and digital technology makes this infinitely easier, especially for the amateur photographer.
Previously, one needed a dark room if one wanted to exercise total control over one’s work. This was impossible for most amateurs so they got what the automatic developers gave them. Nowadays, a photographer can manipulate or enhance the quality of his digital photos on his own computer with software that comes free with the camera or phone.
The amateur photographer has never had so much control over the quality of his pictures ever. He probably even has more control now over image quality than professionals did not so long ago. This has to be a good thing for the amateur, although professionals may have lost some work to the DIY snapper.
Old cameras using film photography needed different lenses to achieve special effects, but these have largely been replaced by in-build editing software and a zoom lens. Those lenses were not cheap either – often each one cost more than an amateur’s complete camera.
There were zoom, fish-eye, wide-angle lenses etc, which are all built into a good mobile phone or cheap digital camera now.You can also choose to have the standard colour digital image transformed into a sepia, black-and-white, or sketch image at the click of the mouse.
Digital photography will never replace true talented professionals, they have nothing to fear on that point, but it will empower ordinary people to take better photographs, even though most of them will hardly ever be seen more than a few times. One of the characteristics of digital photos is that they are uploaded to a computer and forgotten about.
In fact, although modern digital cameras take a lot of the donkey-work out of taking decent photos, they cannot turn an amateur into a professional and even make some people lazier. With the old cameras, the photographer had to think about the composition of the picture, the lighting etc, etc. If he got it wrong, he wouldn’t know for a week and the moment would have been lost.
Not only that, he still had to pay for developing mistakes and awful pictures. This forced people to think about what they were doing and to really try to get it right. Now taking 1,000 photos a day with a memory card in the hope of getting a good one by accident costs nothing but time and top end digital cameras like the Nikon Coolpix or the Canon Eos are no longer expensive.