"So how do you see the future of photography?" I was asked in a post on facebook. Especially since AI (artifical intelligence) suddenly became hugely prevalent in photography last week. I do have some thoughts on that, so below is a brief rundown of my expectation by field within photography.
I foresee that NVJ/ DUPHO will continue to fight very hard for journalistic photography. This despite the fact that in my opinion this is actually already a lost race. In places like Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine in recent years we saw that locals themselves reported what was happening around them. In the future, I think this kind of quick reportage will be done by whoever "happens" to be on location. The chances of this involving professionals, I highly doubt. After all, the current iPhone already has a resolution higher than most consumer cameras. Besides, many people are willing to report news for next to nothing ( nurtured by their ego or online visibility).
In terms of portrait photography, I foresee many people wanting to be seen especially perfectionist, in which AI is better than many a phone. I therefore foresee AI becoming an essential part of the software in phones. People will therefore take selfies that come out of the phone better than many a photographer will be able to take. This probably also applies to product photography, in which AI will make everything look better than it really will.
In terms of landscapes, I foresee about the same thing. AI can create beautiful images faster than we have time to wait for the right combination of sun and clouds. With a few relatively simple images from a smartphone, but AI the most beautiful images.
Those engaged in content production who embrace AI and know how to make it work for them have an opportunity to tap into a new resource. On social media, one can play around with this quite a bit where one can certainly have images from a phone complemented by AI pretty quickly to create new creations in an if not existing world. Something you actually already see daily on social media, but then these are images that have been heavily edited to make something look like a world that isn't actually there either.
Event photography (wedding/pregnancy/children's/parties and funerals)
For this group, I foresee that there will always be work. Weddings, funerals and maternity/children's photography is always about new moments that are personal and thus will still be a substantial source of income. Although I expect AI to play an important role in post-processing here as well.
Finally, I expect that people will always continue to embrace art in many forms. Whether there will be a form with which to generate sufficient income is unpredictable, but I think that lies partly in the creativity, flexibility and entrepreneurship of the artist. That this will be more than just taking a picture in the future is in my expectation, though. Although people will probably love puritanism again. By this I mean more between a border of analog and digital photography with minimal editing and no AI.
I think the world of photography will change on many fronts under the influence of AI. Whether my predictions will be correct, time will tell. But photographers who stick to the methods of today, or those of 20 years ago, are probably going to miss the boat.