Not much made of a recent story that appeared in USA Today (and maybe not much should be made) that examined how consumer habits with regard to how they view, share and feel about their photographic memories are changing…rather dramatically in the digital age. One of the consumers they spoke with even suggested she gets so “stressed out over digital” due to lack of an easier way to archive her images, she has started using her “old” 35mm camera again to avoid the complications.
While this certainly shouldn’t be viewed as Chicken Little material for the imaging industry, it is definitely time to take a closer look at how consumers truly feel about a new technology that has completely turned an entire industry upside down in the last decade.
As everyone is well aware, digital imaging technology has essentially put a lot of power in consumers’ hands. They can shoot as many pictures as they want, free from the limits of a 35mm roll of film and are now also empowered to only print the images they are the most excited about…or perhaps not even print at all.
While there are those in this industry that will argue the above fact represents the technologies’ greatest evil, we tend to disagree. Before we let you in on what we think the biggest issue is with regard to digital imaging’s future, let’s hear from a few other folks in and around this industry first.
“You have to wonder, with the current pace of technology, if future generations will even have time to look at all these piles of CDs and DVDs containing tens or hundreds of thousands of photos. Even if they do, will whatever technology they stopped at be able to read them? It’s a little scary to think that individual memories may become less precious because there are simply so many being captured and that they may get very frustrating to enjoy,” reasoned Mike Galke, a computer consultant from Lynbrook, New York.
Well then, how about the feelings of a baby boom mom from Alabama? “As much as I was originally drawn into digital by the ease-of-use and the immediacy, I’m finding that I sometimes don’t want to use the camera at all now. It’s taking a lot of enjoyment out of photography and I sometimes think about grabbing the old film camera. I find myself not even using the camera because I have to do too much after I shoot – download to the PC to get a good look at them, decide what ones I want to print, move those to a card to take to retail and then save the rest – and eventually back them up. It has taken some of the enjoyment out of photography,” explained a frustrated Debra Conklin, from her home in Birmingham, Alabama.
Okay, we’re not highlighting all this to tell you, “Gee, I guess digital stinks.” All we’re saying is this, the storage and retrieval of digital images is a frustrating process, even for the most tech savvy among us…just ask your local pro. While this issue reeks of opportunity for retailers, we also feel some innovation is desperately needed on the manufacturer side that addresses the aforementioned frustrations. There’s nothing sadder than capturing a great shot that no one ever sees. I bet Chicken Little had some great images.