Just when you thought Microsoft wasn’t an innovator anymore and that Apple had the monopoly on cutting edge innovation, the Redmond based company is about to come out with the new digital light box.

A coffee table size touch screen allows for multiple users to manipulate images as easily as prints on a table. Mounted on a wall, it could easily be used by art directors to compare and work on photo shoots. Editing will become more humane and less of a lonesome occupation. You can see a nice demo at PhotoMechanics.com.

This is only the beginning and the tip of the iceberg on how human interaction with computers is about to change. And for photo agencies and photographers, how the digital age is finally coming to maturity. In not too long, on line database of images serviced by a web browser will appear as obsolete and inadequate as the first automobiles and those who will survive will look back a these steam powered engines with wet eyes.

Corbis, with all its potential might, as yet to come up with any innovation at all, while Getty has been flirting with the edge while remaining very traditional. Recent innovations, like microstock and visual search, have come from people outside of the industry. The real innovators and creators of new, useful technology, are not photo professionals. They are, however photo enthusiasts with a genuine eagerness to make photography, and the distribution of it, a simpler, less aristocratic process. Sometimes it leads to excesses, mostly in pricing. But the good news, the very good news is that photography has never been so much in demand, and as well supported as of today. It is up to photo professionals to take advantages of this photo tsunami.

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