In the Future, We Will Photograph Everything and Look at Nothing

Canon Rumors Guy

CR Pro
Jul 20, 2010
When Google bought Nik Software in 2012, I think a lot of knew it was the beginning of the end for the beloved software. I am still a bit ticked off at Google for basically killing it with no new versions and now giving it away for free. Since there is no hidpi version of the software, I can no longer use it on my Windows laptop, and there will never be an update to correct that issue. Rest well Nik Collection, I’m going to miss you.</p>
<p>Below is a great article from The New Yorker on the topic.</p>
<p><strong>From The New Yorker</strong></p>
<p class="descender" data-wc="61">Today everything exists to end in a photograph,” Susan Sontag wrote in her seminal 1977 book “On Photography.” This was something I thought about when <a href="" target="_blank" data-smart-underline-link-background-position="69" data-smart-underline-link-color="rgb(0, 0, 0)" data-smart-underline-link-always="">I recently read</a> that Google was making its one-hundred-and-forty-nine-dollar photo-editing suite, the Google Nik Collection, free. This photo-editing software is as beloved among photographers as, say, Katz’s Deli is among those who dream of pastrami sandwiches.</p>
<p data-wc="117">Before Google bought it, in 2012, the collection cost five hundred dollars. It is made up of seven pieces of specialized software that, when used in combination with other photo-editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom, give photographers a level of control akin to that once found in the darkroom. They can mimic old film stock, add analog photo effects, or turn color shots into black-and-white photos. The suite can transform modestly good photos into magical ones. Collectively, Nik’s intellectual sophistication is that of a chess grand master. I don’t mind paying for the software, and neither do thousands of photographers and enthusiasts. So, like many, I wondered, why would Google make it free? <a href="" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p>
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EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Oct 18, 2011
Sorry but I don't get the correlation between the title and the body of the text.
"We Will Photograph Everything and Look at Nothing" is I think in the disposal digital age a fascinating question worthy of discussion, Nik software is but a blip in the landscape, irrelevant in the scheme of things.

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012

( WOW! What a great example of Moire! )


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Mar 8, 2015
From the article:
"Thanks to our obsession with photography—and, in particular, the cultural rise of selfies—the problem of how to sort all these images has left the realm of human capabilities. Instead, we need to augment humans with machines, which are better at sifting through thousands of photos, analyzing them, finding commonalities, and drawing inferences around moments that matter. Machines can start to learn our style of photography."

and this:
"I worry about Google’s data ethics and about the idea of handing over the corpus of my life, but I can’t deny that it is exceptional at making sense of my ever-growing photo library. Facebook, too, is clever at arranging photos along the axis of relationships and time."

Are we as a population really that incapable of effectively organising and making sense of our digital lives? Is it such a difficult thing to achieve? I'm a long-time Lightroom user, and over the past month have been gradually consolidating my various collection of catalogues and some stand-alone folders of orphan images into my master library. For a few years I was in the habit of dragging images from my camera memory cards onto my computer, to deal with later, and this led to an abundance of unsorted folder or images in a few locations.

Since deciding a month ago to try to consolidate everything into a single location and collection, I've tasked myself with finding two or three folders a day to import and keyword and I have to say, it's been a really enjoyable process. Like cleaning out boxes of old photos from an attic, I've found myself sitting down looking through folders of photos I'd forgotten about, reliving and strengthening memories, and also finding quite a few nice images I'd like to spend some time fine-tuning to print.

I've been reminded of people I was once close to whom I haven't spoken with in years, places I've visited, events I've attended...stuff that might otherwise have stayed forgotten for many more years.

I'm not sure handing over all our photos - selfies or otherwise - to Google and FB to run through their algorithms, is really to the benefit of ourselves or our memories. Sure they might try to package it up nicely, but remember everything they do is about data-mining and advertising. I loathe to think of a future where I attend a friend's or colleague's funeral and those of us present are treated to an online presentation by Google's 'In Memoriam' app or from Facebook Eulogy. A machine collated collection of photos and music, based on those in attendance and their relationship to the deceased. And no doubt afterwards you'll have to option to order a custom printed album of photos featuring you, the departed, and the times and places you shared with them. Ugh.

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts.



Jul 20, 2010
Springfield, IL
I would say this is a massive fail.

The connection to Nik and "On Photography" is less than tenuous. There is much that could be contemplated about the future of photography in a mobile world, but this article barely brushes the surface (one can't even say it scratches the surface).

Sontag was incredibly prescient when she wrote "On Photography." More than 40 years later it remains nearly as current as when it was first published and is well worth reading and re-reading on a regular basis. But, I am hard-pressed to see any significant connection between her observations and the decision by Google to (possibly) discontinue upgrading a piece of software.