With the advent of the iPhone, and perhaps even before that, yes, before that, we've started, as a culture, to gain a new found appreciation for photography. In my estimations, we're coming to better understand, not only shot, composition and subject matter, but also post-production, execution and treatment. As Annie Leibovitz claims, following the old adage, the best camera is the one with you. You see, for us, that's pretty easy. Most of us carry our iPhones in our pockets or purses or have them readily accessible. The iPhone has changed the way we view the world.
Capturing a scene or a moment didn't use to be as spontaneous. When the great American photographer Ansel Adams desired to shoot a scene at Yosemite National Park, he would trek off into the wilderness, searching for the great unknown: the location as much as the subject. For a century that was defined by the cinema, photography wasn't so much as neglected, as not fully realized or endorsed. And yet, Ansel Adams found a way to reveal new possibilities for the medium.
Recently, I had the chance to catch the Ansel Adams retrospective, curated by himself. I was really struck by the breadth and depth of the work. As with most characterizations, I was presumptuously negative about the expanses of his work, but the import of Ansell Adams is spectacular. We're all increasingly coming to know and understand photography, and Adams still points the way.