Is Photography Only a Photograph?

Is Photography Only a Photograph?

Until recent years single photographs have been useful for nostalgia, entertainment, and business communications. No longer are the ultimate photographs only created by commercial photography. In this article I’ll explore new emerging technology areas that use groups of millions of photographs. Using photography as data creates new ways of seeing and new commercial photography business opportunities.

Photographs Are Thought & Emotion Provoking Metaphors

Photographs trigger visual metaphors for feeling and thinking.

Commercial photographers work with creative directors to create photographs based on known visual literacy elements. The visual graph utilizes the five elements of shape, line, color, tone, and motion to trigger thoughts and emotions for a desired outcome. The $20,000 ad space rate with a pretty picture is there to make you think and feel a certain way about the product or service.

Professional fine art photographers also use the visual graph process to illicit thoughts and feelings. Some with the intention to change the way we see the world and others with the goal of selling prints that match the curtains.

Photographs Are Information

aerial sample from ecocity vr 360 video
Commercial photography is a trifecta of science, art, and business. Major scientific discoveries are made possible with the art of photographic imaging. Both have high capital expense. This requires the basic economies of a solid business to support them. Under a microscope, through a telescope, or capturing the non-visible spectrum of light (infrared, ultraviolet, ect) to learn about the world around us gives us knowledge and technology advancements in products that would not be available without photographs as information.

Two generations, eight satellites and millions of pictures later the Landsat program makes global timelapse possible. I’m a professional timelapse video producer, so I love this use of photographs as information. See remarkable phenomena as our earth transforms over time, by linking satellite images together.


Photographs + Machine Vision Learning + Parallel Computing

commercial photography for NeuroFit
The culmination of Landsat imaging program and mobile phone cameras produces billions on photographs into the machine daily. Hotspots of photography in the form of data begin to emerge.

Social media capture, sharing, and hashtag’ing are forming a new visual language. These billions of hash tags are a part of teaching the AI (artificial intelligence) image recognition, or machine vision learning. Computer vision, AI, neural network advancements are using cloud computing to analyze images and video in real time.

These advances create many new business opportunities and a whole new way to communicate visually. Photography was never really just a photograph. The unknown of what photographs and videos as data will do for us is exciting to see. If you’re interested in learning more about the future of photographs have a look at these companies: Clarifai, Orbital Insight, Descartes Labs, Planet Labs

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