Introduction

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Photography lab. Couresty of  Brigham Young University-Idaho via Mountain West Digital Library.

The mass replacement of film cameras with digital ones has not only changed the way people take and view photos, but also the photography profession as a whole. The popularity of digital cameras has led to the sharp decline of film processing and production. Camera stores, film companies, and photo labs are quickly becoming obsolete. Companies such as Polaroid have shuttered their film stock plants, and many manufacturers are no longer making film cameras for the general public. The digital nature of file sharing has dramatically minimized the need for physical prints of photographs, and photo processing businesses are feeling the impact.

In terms of training, many universities still offer traditional photography programs, but digital photography rules the roost. Darkrooms are nostalgically viewed as “old-school,” rather than as cutting-edge. Because editing software like Photoshop enables amateurs with computer access to manipulate and enhance their own images, professional photographers are also seeing a decline in demand. In 2013 the Chicago Sun-Times axed all twenty-eight of their on-staff photojournalists, saying they would be replaced with iPhone wielding reporters. For better or worse, digital cameras have forever altered the landscape of modern photography.