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Pretty cool, no ? a 2.3 Gigapixel photograph that allows you to zoom in and out with incredible definition. The future of photography, right ? wrong. This image actually denies the fundamental role of a photographer and photography.
Let me explain: The fundamental role of a photographer, whether a journalist or a stock shooter, is framing. It is to apply upon a subject a very constraining boundary in order to force the viewer to see exactly what he wants to show. Nothing more, nothing less. A photograph points to a very specific and very well defined area. Even wide angle photography is a framed vision. The purpose of a photograph is to extract the meaning of a scene and one of its major tool is the scalpel-like defining frame. Rectangular, square, small, big, it doesn’t matter as long as it brings forth the essence of a scene. Or at least tries to.
The 2.3 Gigapixel photograph above does the exact opposite. It throws back on the viewer the burden of discovering a meaningful value to the image, if any. It annihilates the role of the photographer by capturing everything, thus capturing nothing.
Sure, as a tool for architects, or the military, it is certainly valuable. Also, as a novelty, it can attract some attention for a while. However, it will certainly not be a widely used tool for photographer.
The italian company HAL9000 has some nice gigapixel images from artwork: http://www.haltadefinizione.com/magnifier.jsp?idopera=10