Yes. In 1990 there were about 8 million individuals photographing the environment. This has grown to about 17 million today, representing more than a quarter of all photographic photographers. A substantial proportion (roughly 40% of current photo editors) photograph landscapes, wildlife and nature sites, which are growing at a faster clip than cities. More than two-thirds of photographic editors regularly photograph nature but this proportion is declining.
At a similar time as we are seeing a shift in our photography from photographs directed to one’s own personal experience to becoming directed to another people’s experience, we are also seeing increased use of a number of other types of photography. These include photojournalism, which has grown to comprise the majority of photographers’ work, and ‘digital journalism’ which has grown particularly rapidly over the past few years.
Do you see this as making photography more popular in the UK or abroad?
It certainly has made it more popular worldwide. Since the mid-1980s, the UK has become a popular photographic destination for photographers. For the past eight years digital photography has been increasing globally.
It seems it is still fairly small, but at least in the UK, we feel that it is growing and growing fast, as have many countries across the world.
Tell us more about the digital movement and its applications.
The growth in digital photography is partly the result of technology and partly a result of the growing importance of photography as the subject of news, documentary and documentary-based media. Today more than ever before, digital technology can inform, inspire and inform audiences, and this has had a huge impact on photography and news photography.
Digital’s impact on photography goes right through the media. You see it in the news, you saw it in documentary films, in documentary series such as Citizenfour, with the BBC’s Horizon and the Guardian’s Edge, documentaries by Channel 4 and the Independent, and in fashion, with magazines such as GQ, Esquire and Vogue.
What are the problems that journalists face when reporting on the digital?
The first thing is to understand how technology is changing photography. The biggest digital cameras will take the digital world by storm in the next few years but when people begin to use the digital cameras for photos and when they become more comfortable with the format, the world is about to change dramatically in how we photograph.
The current digital media landscape is one of tension, competition and constant innovation. News photographers are in a constant arms race.
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