Iconic photography – who will take the shots of the future?


Photography provides us with the ability to capture a moment or a memory. A cherished image that is so significant, it stays with us for the rest of our lives.

The professional photographer’s art of pointing a lens to capture a moment has induced some incredible recording of people and memories throughout history. Some so memorable that a particular photograph has been imprinted into our minds for good. Marilyn Monroe, the famous photograph of her holding onto her dress, or indeed the image of Che Guevara that has been printed onto every substrate known to man. Both present two very different events in world history but captured significant moments, memories and people.

As time passes, it is fair to say that the memories of the last century’s iconic photography will become forgotten, or at least a lot less significant in the minds of future generations.

The important shots of the future

You could also argue with so much photographic recording taking place now, will we still be taking the iconic photographs that will be recognised and revered for decades to come? With most of the world’s population owning a high-density camera phone, are we experiencing photographic saturation? With every event and angle covered, and little wriggle room for the professional photographer to capture that incredible shot, is it the end of the ‘one iconic’ image that individually records an event, and used by all to remember its significance?

Will we still see our Marilyn Monroe or Che Guevara shots, or indeed, the famous shot of Sir Winston Churchill looking seriously stern and ready for everything that is thrown at him? Will we see the famous photograph of the kissing sailor in Times Square at the end of World War II? Or that historical sporting moment with Bobby Moore being held aloft by his fellow England teammates following the 1966 victory? We can all picture that incredible image of the protestor standing in front of Chinese military tanks in Tienanmen Square, or the rather amusing shot of Albert Einstein poking his tongue out at the photographer. All images are embedded in our minds and record some of the most significant events, and people in modern history.

To answer the question, are we experiencing the end of the iconic shots of the future?

Only time will confirm our suspicions of the potential demise or at the very least, the difficulty in capturing that iconic shot of the future. However, we suspect that the photographs that capture important historical moments and become embedded into our minds, won’t just come through the lens of the professional photographer’s DSLR. They will also be the occasional creation of the amateur who has captured a moment with a timely shot on a smartphone.

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