I was listening into a news report stating that robots and machines were taking so many jobs from humans that it was accounting for trillions of dollars of lost taxes in the United States alone. Bill Gates has been a reported proponent of placing a tax on machines that replace human jobs. Also I am addicted to the AMC show Humans, which covers the same topic.

Obviously I cannot help but think about how this could potentially impact the photography industry. Consider that the advancements of technology alone have catapulted so many new faces to enter what was once a very exclusive industry.

However, I believe that has made the industry better. Yes that means there is more competition and a lot more fighting over projects, but it also means better work is being made and more innovation and creativity is occurring.

If you think about it, machines have replaced small human jobs since we created them. We would carry things until we created a wheel, now one can do what once required many. Printers replaced scribes sitting in a room writing everything by hand. Self-check out registers are replacing cashiers presently.

However, every time a new technology comes out or a new machine is developed, an entire industry of new jobs surfaces to support it.

Perhaps because I got into photography at the front and start of the digital photo revolution but I’ve never had that fear of being replaced by technology. How I worked with digital imagery at the start of my career is vastly different from how I work with it now.

The thing I find solace in is that I don’t believe it matters if machines eventually are designed to take photos potentially replace photographers. There will always be more opportunities if we just keep our eyes open.

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto