PhotoMedia enters its 12th year (whew!) with the Y2K threat looming on the horizon and the attendant speculation about society's ability to overcome any computer-caused disruption that results.
As we exit the 20th century, computers have become integral for processing virtually all aspects of human intellectual activity, from transacting business to conducting scientific research to facilitating communications and the arts. Little remains untouched by the computer's impact.
It has been intriguing to monitor the evolution of digital technologies within the photography industry, starting with the prototype systems for image capture and output to the current, fully conceived products. The move to digital has given us plenty to write about as photographers and photo users discover new opportunities for creating and presenting their work.
In November 1998 at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City, the then- president of the Digital Imaging Manufacturer's Association (DIMA) predicted in his keynote speech two critical breakthroughs in the imaging arena by the early part of the year 2000: significantly higher resolution and lower cost in the consumer arena, making digital photography finally available to the masses affordably and with satisfactory quality for most applications.
Just three months later, at the Photography Marketing Association's (PMA) annual exposition in Las Vegas, proof of his prediction was already in evidence as most major manufacturers were rolling out new and impressive digital products. (See page 16 for our 'PMA Digital Camera Shootout' story and page 34 for our On the Market report on new digital products with no fewer than 17 new digital cameras.)
It appears that at least in the photography world, the next millennium may well be the digital era, when digital cameras and output devices will be as common as Brownies and Instamatic cameras were in the 50s and 60s. The big difference is that back then it was “as easy as pushing a button.” With digital products, however, most users (especially older ones) face a broad learning curve that will have to be transcended to realize the benefits these products offer. PhotoMedia will work to keep you informed on new developments, and prepare and inspire you to consider the possibilities they offer as the new millennium unfolds.
In the meantime, film-based products will go on serving photographers for years to come and will increase in sophistication for those who prefer the familiar and established methods of image capture and output. We will strive to keep you informed on those fronts as well.
We are pleased in this issue to present our 1998 Photography Person of the Year, Marita Holdaway of the Benham Gallery in Seattle. Her passion for photography and photographers, as well as her community service and humanitarian efforts (and persistence!), are widely recognized throughout the Northwest and beyond. Our congratulations to her!
Looking forward to the PhotoMedia summer break, our expanded Calendar section will alert you to goings-on through early October. Hold on to it for reference. Finally, please remember to mention us to our advertisers. Their support makes this publication possible, and they want to know you're noticing.
Gary Halpern, Publisher