Apple, of course, is a proxy for “iPhone” here. The iPhone is the biggest camera brand on Flickr by a significant margin. And I bet you it would be an ever bigger margin on Instagram.
Smartphones accounted for 48% of the photos uploaded to Flickr, up from 39% last year. DSLR was 25%, down from 31% in 2015, and point and shoot was 21%, down from 25% in 2015. Mirrorless remained flat at 3% of photos uploaded in 2016.
I’m vaguely surprised by the low numbers for mirrorless cameras – that makes me wonder if the community that have adopted them haven’t found themselves a home on Flickr. Or perhaps the mirrorless hype has been over-blown.
We are already seeing cameras evolve and become hyper specialized — Snapchat’s Spectacles, GoPro Cameras and Drone-mounted cameras for aerial work. I suspect by the time 2020 rolls around the point and shoot share of overall photography just might be down to single digits.
It feels like stand-alone cameras are being pushed into the niches that phones can’t comfortably fill: you don’t want you phone hundreds of feet away in the sky, nor do you want to strap it to your bike for filming – because it’s more likely to be destroyed in an accident, and the battery won’t hold up as well as a dedicated camera. But these are edge cases, suitable for niche companies.
If you watch a number of GoPro-type extreme sports videos, you’re probably deeply familiar with this track:
This tune is indelibly marked in my head as the “Le Web tune”, because as I sit in the main stage area, finishing liveblog posts, high-energy GoPro videos are often playing with that track in the background.
Professor Joydeep Bhattacharya lectures on the neuroscience of music and emotion at Goldsmith’s University, London. Unsurprisingly, he says it’s complicated. “When a musical piece is chosen to go along with a visual scene, what’s needed is the congruency of meaning across both dimensions — musical and visual,” he says. “The answer lies, in my view, not just in the music, but the various ways that meanings emerge out of the video.” The trouble being, that meaning is a deeply subjective thing.
It’s a fascinating look at how something so subjective can lead to remarkably uniform results.
The one reason I keep doing what I do for a living (whatever the hell that is, as it seems to change every few months right now…) is that new technology is enabling such different forms of storytelling and, as a natural storyteller of sorts, how can you not get all excited and want to be involved with that?
Take this video, which has been doing the rounds over the last few days:
Sure – it’s an advert for GoPro cameras – but that’s just fine with me, because their kit has enabled this sort of storytelling. Or, at least, made the costs involved much, much lower.