The Photos of the Future

When I first signed up for Emerging Media Platforms, I anticipated that we’d study virtual reality, drones, wearable technology, and much more.  Nowhere in there did I see us learning about still photography, not in any sense.  While there have been amazing advances with DSLRs and the quality of photos you can capture nowadays, a static photo is a static photo, right?

Wrong.  So wrong.

In this week’s series of lectures, we learned about everything from photogrammetry to 3D scanning, with stops at building our own 3D models in between.  I had no idea what technologists had done with photography in the intervening years since I first learned manual photography and darkroom processing, and I have to admit, I’m very impressed.

How can I see this being used in my future career?  I’m hard pressed to see how 3D scanning of models has a place in “breaking news journalism” but lucky for me, I don’t work in straight journalism, but in content marketing.  And oh boy, is there a place for these types of photo technologies in content marketing!

One of my dream jobs is working in content marketing for a science outlet like Discovery, Smithsonian, or Nat Geo…and who did our professor use as an example for the frontlines of 3D scanning, but the Smithsonian Institute! Check out what they’re doing, it’s really amazing.  I knew they were scanning their collection, but I had no idea how extensive the work they’d done already was or that it was annotated or searchable.  So very interesting.

I see serious applications of these technologies for content marketing, particularly in a scientific field.  The more you can immerse your audience in a story, the more they’re going to want to devour your content and come back for more.

My previous academic life was in anthropology and archaeology; I can only imagine how great it would be to see archaeological digs come to life, digitally, on a blog.  From the other side of the world, you could literally be in the midst of a scene that (as a layperson reading about science), you’ve only read about and will never get to travel to.  You could recreate historical scenes, events, and narratives for students to follow along with.

Photo technology like photogrammetry and 3D scanning brings far away or distant things to life right there in front of you.  It has huge implications for how we interact with content online – maybe we don’t even need words, after all!  If the traditional 2D picture is worth 1000 words, what’s a 3D, exploratory image worth in getting you to understand a scene?  My guess is, quite a lot.  I’m very excited to have learned about this tech and look forward to following it in future.

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