Photographic technology has changed dramatically over the 180 years since its invention.

For a brief history of photography, click HERE.

Photography can be a labour-intensive and highly specialist activity. New technologies have, however, seen aspects of the medium become increasingly automated and 'instant'. Ironically, the internal workings of the equipment itself have become more and more complex, and sophisticated.

The camera phone allows people the world over to have constant access to a camera — literally at arms length. Photography has become an integral part of day–to–day life, with people producing personalised visual texts to communicate with others.

Whether reading a photograph, or making a photograph, it is useful to consider what impact the technology used by the photographer has on the pictorial qualities of the image:

The meaning of an image can be affected by the technology used to make it.

For example, a viewer will respond differently to an image of exactly the same subject matter and composition if one is a grainy enlargement of a phone camera image, and the other a highly detailed photograph made with a large format camera. The content and arrangement of the pictorial elements in each are the same; the technological context is different.

The meaning of an image can be affected by the technology used to display it: a paper print held in the viewer's hands may well evoke a different response than an image presented on a phone screen or computer screen, and a different response again if presented on a television or movie screen.