with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

The Future of Photography as predicted in 1944

I stumbled on this and was absolutely impressed. In 1944, Popular Photography asked nine professional photographers, the top in their field, what they thought was the future of photography. Looking back over the past sixty years of photography, many of them had it smack on, while others, well, they are still ahead of their time. The article, The Future of Photography as predicted in 1944, is definitely worth a look. Here are a few excerpts.

I feel that the great changes in postwar photography will come from the creative amateur, who is not bound by commercial conventions. To be specific, this creative amateur photographer will learn to give a fuller interpretation to the people and places about him. Changes will come from within the photographer himself. I would like to see the discussions of the future center around the interpretation of the photographic idea and not on endless techniques which will be fairly easy to acquire anyway. In this way we will enter a new century of photography which will be challenging and exciting.
Williard D. Morgan

It is possible to perfect the camera to the point where it will become an automatic instrument which will focus, expose and process the film by the mere push of a button. In this way we will be able to realize a medium possessing an immediacy between seeing and recording unachieved by any other art.
Eliot Elisofon

Newspapers will employ more pictures, less text. Wire methods of transmitting and receiving pictures directly as a block ready for printing will enable the smallest paper to obtain worldwide picture coverage of the news.
C. B. Neblette, F.R.P.S., F.P.S..A.

One of the ones that most impressed me was this one, looking so far ahead into the future to see how photography would walk lock-step with corporations to spread their advertising and marketing far and wide.

American war plants, daily finding new uses for the camera, in two years of war production have pointed the way to the valuable position photography will occupy in postwar industry.
Industrial relations alone have opened a wide field. House organs use photographs of workers, either at their jobs or in outside activities. Having his picture taken for such purposes is, to a worker, a subtle recognition that rings the bell. Many of these pictures are usable in trade journals, general magazines, and newspapers. Farsighted companies such as Boeing, American Airlines and the Caterpillar Tractor Company, by employing photography to an unprecedented extent, are making their names and products bywords in every household.
Photographs in catalogs have far more sales appeal than sketches or word descriptions. Other industrial uses are:
1. Construction views to show stages of development of a project are valuable not only for documentation, but also as a guide for future attempts at duplication. A series of pictures gives an opportunity for analysis in the cold light of retrospect, which may lead to shortcuts or the elimination of unforeseen errors or obstacles.
2. Job time and method studies.
3. Identification of construction difficulties, faulty setups or faulty parts.
4. Record pictures of equipment.
Modestly priced special equipment can also be utilized in meeting a variety of problems which can best be solved photographically:
1. Identification badge, pass card and record pictures of employees can be taken at the rate of several hundred an hour, insuring accurate identification protection.
2. The fingerprint camera can also be employed to make instantaneous, on-the-spot copies of small records, signatures, credentials, serial numbers, surface faults, and many other data.
3. Microfilm cameras and viewers provide a simple and inexpensive method of safeguarding important documents and working plans, a fast and accurate method of copying detailed sketches.
4. Photomicrography, a camera in conjunction with a microscope can be used to study flaws in castings and other faults or developed difficulties in scopic light with any standard camera permits study of high-speed equipment in use.
6. Meter reading cameras, for making records, automatically or periodically of meters and dials on equipment.
Photography is the perfect substitute for the human eye, with the added advantage that it cannot be easily fooled or distracted and is not afflicted with a failing memory. Where speed, accuracy and low cost are important it is a ready copying device. The staff photographer is becoming one of the most important men in many modern plants. Certain it is that photography in industry has arrived, and that it will play an important part in postwar industrial operations.
H. A. Schumacher

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