I’ve just started reading A history of photography, but I have a bit of a dilemma. Several hundred posts ago, I started reading about the Hubble Telescope, but I stopped fairly early in to the book as I quickly realised that although the history of the telescope was accurately reflected , in terms of discoveries and recent activities, it was hopelessly out of date.
The version of the history of photography that I am reading has a publication date of 1977. So much has happened in the field of camera technology between then and now initially made me wonder whether I should stop reading this particular book and find a more up to date version of history.
But then I started thinking that whilst we need to be aware of the discovery and development of photography up to something like the brownie camera. Certainly the brownie we had in the 1960’s took 120 film, and it was the early 70’s before I had my first 35mm camera.
We had to reach a point where it was easy to take pictures – note I say easy, not necessarily cheap. Film was (is) not cheap. Digital is a world of difference. But thinking about whether I needed to not read the 1977 book and look for something up to date really is a distraction. I realised that the technology is irrelevant. It is all about the picture.
This is why I have realised that I do not need to stop reading the book, because the detail of the early knowledge will not change. The photographs people took will not change. It is my view that the book is as relevant today as it was in 1977.
I shall continue reading it.