Mikkel Aaland    
"It's All an Adventure"

Photography is Dead

Nearly every week I see signs that traditional photography is on its last legs. Check out these recently published photos below. Nice, right? Nothing special.  Not only did these images never come close to a camera or a photographer, they never came close to anyone. The faces are synthetic, created by an impressive artificial intelligent powered program developed by Nvidia, a company that designs graphics processing units (GPUs) for the gaming and professional markets and now heavily invested in AI technologies.  
Two imaginary celebrities that were dreamed up by a random number generator. (Credit Nvidia)
Does this foreshadow the end of photography as we know it? Out of curiosity, I googled the phrase, Photography is Dead and got over 1.1 million entries. It's a popular subject, and for some time it has been getting serious attention on the internet.

A few years ago, Popular Photography, the largest circulated photography magazine in the world, and a magazine I grew up with, ceased publication after 80 years. In the last few years, two of the most frequented camera stores in the San Francisco bay area, Adolph Gasser and Keeble and Shuchat closed their doors after 67 and 51 years respectively. After 26 years as San Francisco's number one art gallery, rental studio, bookstore and museum, RayKo has gone dark.


For the professional photographer trying to make a living, there is also no question that photography has radically changed. We now compete with every amateur who has taken a Lynda.com on-line photography course (courses of which, BTW, I have contributed) and will work for practically free, or we compete with online stock photography that is priced like a commodity, if priced at all. Some people say professional photography died the moment a camera lens found its way onto a cell phone, when overnight everyone in the entire world became a photographer.

Regardless of all this, I am as passionate about photography as I was when I started out nearly 50 years ago. I am not alone. Never before in history has photography been so popular or relevant. In 2017 InfoTrends predicted 1.3 trillion photos would be taken. That's 1.3 trillion.  I can't find recent numbers but, like counting MacDonald's, hamburgers, does it matter? Sure, most of photos shared worldwide contained food or selfies but shift through all the noise and you will find some really amazing talent.
For professionals there are more ways than ever to monetize photography, from self-publishing­-my personal imprint is Cyberbohemia Press-to Kickstarter campaigns to monetizing web sites and social media. There will always be a need for portrait photographers as well as wedding and event photographers, who now offer a complete media package including video, custom books and social media services.
Traditional film is also making a come-back of sorts. Fueled partially by nostalgia and also by creative photographers who want to differentiate their work from others, companies like  Kodak ,  Fujifilm   and  Harman Technology , have seen a 5% annual growth in film sales for the last three years. Fujifilm's instant film has also found an enthusiastic, receptive audience as well.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it takes words to express that idea. 
I identify myself as a photographer but I have always looked at photography as a tool in my communication toolbox among other tools that include writing, and, lately, video. A picture is worth a thousand words, but it takes words to express that idea. For me, photography and visual imaging in general, are critical components that help me communicate complex ideas and stories to a global audience. (This is where I give the thought-provoking movie Arrival, a shout out.  It shows how a symbol or image can instantly convey concepts vital to the survive of our species, and, in the case of the movie, to the aliens who brought us a new form of communication.) 

In my lifetime I watched photography evolve from a chemical-based process to an electronic digital one, and now to a computational world that blurs the line between what's real and what's not, and sometimes removes the line all together. Who knows where it is headed next? Photography is dead. Long live photography!  (Google "Long live photography" and you get nearly a million results. )
Cyberbohemia Press
Here are a few of the books I have independently published under my Cyberbohemia Press label. Publishing this way is only possible because of new technologies and distribution channels.
Photography Training Videos
For years I traveled back and forth to Graz, Austria to record photography training courses for Video2brain.Video2Brain was bought by Lynda.com, who was bought by LinkedIn who is now owned by Microsoft.  My courses are available here.
Tracking the Future of Photography
For the last seven years I have worked with Hans Hartmann and Alexis Gerard on the Visual 1st conferences, conferences that are focused on state-of-the-art photo and imaging technologies. Keep up with the latest trends and know more about their annual conference by going to their web site .
Why Are You Receiving This?
As humans, we share 99.9 % of the same DNA but you and I are also connected in other ways. Maybe we met at a photography workshop or festival or perhaps we share a passion for saunas and open cold-water swimming. Maybe we sat together at a café somewhere and discussed the myth of Sisyphus or the purpose of life or perhaps we met on a wilderness trail or a river where I likely carried a fishing pole.
It could be we share the same commitment to family, community, and the pursuit of wellness or we are connected through my world-savvy wife, Rebecca or one of my world -trotting daughters Miranda and Ana Mikaela. Some of you may have received this because you were recipients of one of my previous mailings called World of Light.  
If it is ok with you, I would like to use this medium from time to time to stay connected. My interests are wide ranging and so will be my posts. If that doesn't appeal to you, no worries. I totally understand. Just click on the Unsubscribe link below.