PMK-25 asks: "Because I think the very thing that is driving photography to record levels of hype will have simply urinated too long in the fresh water supply that drew people in and that thing is technology. People want a challenge in their pastime or vocation, if the perception now is anyone can do it and there are billions of images lost in a sea of it self, why would they bother and what does that hold for the future of photography it self?"
100 years ago, Kodak's 'Brownie' camera placed photography, which was until then a rich man's game, into the hands of the amateur. We've all benefitted from the technological changes that cellulose roll films ushered in - how many countless millions of family snaps wouldn't have been made if the only way to photograph was with wet glass plates? Digital tech has democratised photography; in doing so it has made photography cheap and ubiquitous. Wanna take a picture? Grab your phone or iPad and off we go. How many pictures will have utility? Probably loads. How many will be masterpieces? Not many.
I don't think there's anything wrong with that. People use photography for many purposes - most aren't artists and most don't want to be artists. They just want a record of a family holiday, an evening out or that amazing sunset behind the hills over there. It's just the same as reaching for your pocket 110 or compact 135 camera. The same skill is required as the first Kodak Brownie - absolutely none. "You push the button - we do the rest". A chimp could do it. And if the result happens to be something blurry, poorly exposed or otherwise rubbishy - who cares? Just throw it away and try again. We've all been there, done that. I'm talking of non-expert use here - it's a different matter if one's being paid for the job!
I think that if technology draws people into photography, well maybe that's a good thing. Sure, they'll get a DSLR or some other cool piece of digi-kit, play with it and think they're David Bailey. But they'll never actually BE as good as Bailey, Adams, Godwin etc etc unless they learn the basics, learn to use the camera and learn the art of seeing. It was always so. The challenge is to rise above the sea of rubbish to produce interesting and original work. Only then do they rise above the poseurs and happy snappers. Film or digital, crap is crap and the skilled use of technology trumps technology for its own sake every time. It's skill that distinguishes the artist from the amateur, not technology. As for the medium itself, I think that its future is secure because people will always want to make pictures of their friends, their environment and themselves. Until the nuclear holocaust or until the oil runs out, that is! These are my thoughts and opinions - your mileage may vary.