Photography In The Future



This post is a continuation of my series about photography in movies and television.

What the future holds for society has always been a hot topic for the motion picture industry. For this article I am going to look at how photography has been depicted in a few movies set in the near and distant future.

The RoboCop Future

The movie Robocop gives us a glimpse into life in the near future. The exact year of RoboCop isn’t exactly stated, but I’m pretty sure that the future of Robocop hasn’t come yet for a few reasons.

  1. We don’t yet have human cyborgs and heavily armed police drones out on the streets.
  2. The worst of the 1980’s fashion & hairstyles haven’t returned yet.

While the vision of the future in RoboCop is a violent and bleak one, there is a ray of hope. Polaroids still exist! Murphy’s heart may beat to the rhythm of a silicon chip, and his brain may be a series of binary bits, but he still gets his instant family memories the good old-fashioned way—on a Polaroid.

Polaroids are alive and well in the RoboCop future
Murphy Finds a Polaroid

The Minority Report Future

Minority Report is another hopeful movie for us film photographers. Set in 2054, Minority Report is full of all sorts of future technology we don’t have yet. Cars that drive themselves, advertising that knows exactly who you are by reading your iris and some sort of hand cannon which launches people fifteen feet into the air when they are shot with it are just a few of the high tech wonders presented in Minority Report.

But even with all this amazing technology, we still have artists utilizing traditional darkrooms.

That appears to be a big box of Ilford photographic paper sitting in the background. Ilford, Let me be the first to say congratulations on making it to your 175th year in business!

The Fifth Element Future

The effects of miniaturization have done great things in making our electronics a greater part of our everyday lives by allowing them to be more compact and portable. Computers which used to take up entire rooms how fit in the palms of our hands. A speedlight strong enough to shoot Kodachrome in the 1940s weighed in at 350 pounds. Today the same amount of flash power only weighs in at a few ounces. If the future as depicted in The Fifth Element is correct, by the 2200s cameras will get small enough that we might not even see them anymore. However miniaturization on speedlights has apparently already hit a wall and will remain the same size that they are today.

Future camera in The Fifth Element

The Back to the Future Part II Future

Set in 2015, the future depicted in Back to the Future Part II is almost upon us. So what can we expect from photography in the next five years? Hovering photography droids always ready to drop in where news is happening. That is what we can expect.

Press Photography in Back To The Future II

Sorry photojournalists, but your job will be extinct as photography becomes completely autonomous. The writing has been on the wall for some time now, so don’t feel like this has come as a surprise.

First you had cameras that would take care of all the light metering for you. Fine, that was nice convenience. Then you let your cameras start focusing for you. Sure, one less thing to think about to help shave an additional half second of prep time for every photo while you figure out the best composition.

But then the real evil started happening. Smile detecting cameras further removed the human element by letting the camera decide when to take the photo instead of the photographer. Then the cameras started changing realities by adding smiles where there were no smiles.

Photographers—this is too much! The time has come to fight the machines! Take your camera and set it to manual and never look back. If Canon or Nikon attempts to release any more models with only automatic modes, smash them! Do not let the machine take our jobs. Only we can prevent this future from happening.

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