Did you catch the big news coming out of Apple this week? I’m not talking about the new phone announcements. I’m talking about Phil Schiller, Senior VP Marketing for Apple claiming that you no longer need to learn about photography to take better pictures, you just have to buy the new iPhone because (apparently) it does it all for us.
During his key note last week, Schiller said
“It used to be the way you take better pictures is you learn to be a better photographer. You get bigger cameras, bigger lenses, you learn about all the techniques of light meters and gels and filters, and you can spend your lifetime learning how to take advantage of this and make it work for you. For the people who want do that, that’s great. For most of us, we just want to take a picture, and have the iPhone take a better picture for us.”
For those that want to check it out, jump to 46mins in to the key note video.
While it's certainly true that the new camera technology in smart phones is helping us create better quality images than ever before (the iPhone fashion shoot that Lee Morris did several years back proved that pretty effectively), there is still no substitute for knowledge and experience.
I'd argue stronger image making is actually the result of the opposite of what Schiller said. With every technological move forward, the more reliant we become on understanding the fundamentals of what goes into making a strong image, on how to guide the eye around the frame and how to bring out emotion in the images we create.
Gear and technology advances give us greater opportunity to express ourselves in new ways. Greater ways and means to express ourselves will require even more knowledge on the fundamentals, the rules (and how you might break them). We all know that a bigger megapixel count or a sharper lens doesn’t equate to a stronger image and, as Zack Arias is quick to say, cameras still don't come with a Decisive Moment Indicator.
Schiller’s statement is strange not only because it’s not true, but also because it’s not the direction of the photographic education industry is headed. At every level from consumer to pro, there has never been more of an interest (and demand) for people to learn about photography, to find ways to improve their image making and better understand the business of photography.
What do you think of Apple’s statement? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.