When LG invited me to their OLED exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, my ears pricked up. This is for two reasons: the first is that a couple of years ago, I wrote a piece on OLED lighting and how I think it will change how photographers light their subjects in the coming years. The second is because, well, I love technology. LG's OLED 4K TVs and monitors are the epitome of digital clarity, and while I suspected that to be the case, seeing it in the flesh did more than confirm my suspicions.
So, what is OLED? OLED stands for "organic light-emitting diode," and it contains flexible sheets of an organic electroluminescent material that can convey imagery. As much as I love technology, I can't profess to understand the workings of these OLED screens in any depth, so I'll provide a description in layman's terms we can all understand: when electric current is put through these OLED sheets, they organically produce light, which allows for blacker blacks, whiter whites, and lower energy consumption. This allows for a uniform picture (with regards to color, brightness, and contrast) and much higher image quality. Now, that's the bit we really care about, isn't it? The image quality is utterly astounding.
When I walked into the exhibition, I realized it had a lot more substance to it than just a technology demo; the whole theme was revolving around the evolution of the eye. Interspersed between taxidermy and science fiction-style bell jars with floating deceased critters were OLED screens hosting crystal-sharp images of nature. Perhaps this was a little primitive of me, but one aspect of these screens that resonated was that it seemed to not matter how close I got to the screen; it never became pixelated. It felt more like approaching a vibrant print than a screen.
All I could think is how amazing it would be to see my photographs on an OLED screen and how effective the screens would be for editing, particularly with a view to print. With a picture so vivid and clear, retouching images, particularly product and beauty, where detail is everything, will be much easier. At the moment, we can only get our hands on the LG OLED 4K TVs, but the computer monitors are projected for 2017 release. It is without question a technology to keep your eye on as it will be taking over its LED predecessor in due course.
If you want to learn about the evolution of vision and get a taste of top photography on OLED screens, the exhibition runs until 6th November 2016 at the National History Museum in London, and tickets can be purchased here. For more information about LG OLED technology, visit here.