TWiP 334 – The Future of Photography


Hosts: Frederick Van Johnson with Dan Ablan & Tristan Hall

This week on TWiP…

  • Apple and Google: Two models for the future of photography
  • The plight of photojournalism
  • Plus an interview with supermodel turned photographer Kristen Jensen


An Interview with Kristen Jensen

Kristen Jensen has successfully navigated the transition from working as a supermodel and actress with the world-famous Ford Modeling agency to becoming a highly sought after “Lifestyle” photographer sponsored by Panasonic. In this interview Frederick and Kristen talk about her modeling past and her photographer present. To learn more about Kristen and to check out her work, please visit her website at

  • The plight of photojournalism (12:30)
  • Apple and Google: Two models for the future of photography (25:20)

Please Support our Sponsors:


This podcast is brought to you by – the internet's leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to


This episode is brought to you by Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create your own professional website, portfolio or online store.  For a free trial and 10% off, go to and use offer code TWIP11.

Connect with Our Hosts & Guests:


Pre-production by: Patrick Reed

Post production by: Suzanne Llewellyn & Vince Bauer

Bandwidth provided by: Cachefly

Intro Music by: Scott Cannizzaro


  1. The real issue with photojournalism is two fold. 1st the public corporate does not work. Simply put the corporate model does not work the papers are succeeding are privately family own.

    The seconded issue is simply the economic collapse of of publications. The last paper I worked for had 8 papers last I heard there was 4. The largest paper in our area cut 50% of their editorial staffs.

    Strangely enough the social media has had less impact than people think. The big issue has been the basic advertisement economic model is broken. Part of the issue is that newspapers did not view the information they generate as having value. They view it news as an advertisement delivery system. The other issue was papers have been running in the red for years.

    Newspapers did not crash and during the recession because of social media but because their property values crashed and burned when real estate market crashed. So their collateral evaporated over night. A classic example of this is Lee Enterprises.

    Realize being a photojournalist never paid well $25,000-35,000 is age yearly income of a photojournalist. I worked full time for a chain of papers plus did commercial art and freelance on the side to support myself.

    Where journalism is heading back to is small family own papers. For the photojournalist the future is heading towards freelance work, similar to general freelance market. Basically photojournalism is heading from working for a company to a independent market.

    1. I think it’s hard to argue that social media outlets and an ever growing number of cable television stations have not affected the newspaper industry. Our attention is now the commodity that every one of these outlets is trying to use. I will agree that newspapers are poorly run businesses. I see the challenge as more of how to become a news/information distribution company rather than merely a newspaper. Some are taking stabs at it (i.e. NY Times) but most are seemingly content to die a slow death.

      From the perspective of the photojournalist, the opportunity is immense. Just like many other content creators, the means of distribution is no longer dominated by a gatekeeper. Meaning that if you really want to tell stories visually, there is no one to stop you or tell you what you can and cannot do. Publish your own book. Set up a You Tube/Vimeo channel. Create your own digital magazine dedicated to telling the stories you want to tell.

      Admittedly the distribution channels are all competing for the finite resource of people’s attention, the photojournalist has the opportunity to establish themselves as the expert in a certain area or type of story.

      The cheese has been moved – it’s time to hustle.

    2. If there are 20 nails in the coffin of newspapers 3 from TV, 4 came from the web 3 came from social media. Corporations 6, and 4 would be bad management.

      Corporate newspaper accounting could give Hollywood a run. The papers and publications that have done well are privately owned.

      Getting exposure for ones work is easy but getting paid is another. What is unfortunate it is not just about getting photos but journalism. Newspapers did not cut the least experienced but the most experienced. So the quality of photojournalism is going down. It is not just about the photojournalism is not about just the photos but words and pictures.

      One other issue here is photojournalist are going from being employees to independent contractors. But that means less focus on the news coverage and more on survival.

      Also you have to think about the equipment needed to work as photojournalist that alone means we will have less trained and less experienced news gathers.

  2. Apple and Google are likely center of social and software developments of photography in the future. However, we are on the brink of technology breakthrough that is bigger than transition to digital – and you quite forgot to explore techie’ side. And there may be an explanation: from interviews with some great top of the tops photographers here on TWIP and other sources it is clear that most photographers do not understand technological potential that is just peeking at them. Better said – they misunderstand technologies in question and sometimes are just plain unaware. So, here is my professional scientific/amateur photographer prediction of what is coming in or lifetimes:
    1) Technology that doesn’t yet have a name that is sticking, I’d call it “wavefront technology”. Both in capture (Lytro) and in even less known display (Wavefront screens). Both have proven and working prototypes equivalent to Sony Mavica for digital (though Lytro caused a lot of misdirection by selling the most inconsequential but easy to achieve side-effect of the technology in question).
    What this technology can do within few years of perfecting it: Wavefront means drastic departure from film (chemical dots) , video (electronic lines) and digital stills (electronic pixels),… concepts of capture. You will no longer capture or display pixels but vectors. And that changes everything. TV/screens with hologram-like, no need for assistance or viewing limits 3D. True 3D as light reaching your eyes will be arranged as if it comes from a real 3D world. Making even holodeck completely plausible, now. Lytro-like true 3D capture that makes source material for such displays and (maybe more importantly) – related easy software applications with which you could change quite literally everything – you want to add/remove/move a tree in your shot – as easy as Google shifting 2D people; you shoot at mid-day , trivially change to sunset (and if you’d love Sun setting in the North – you just move it there) both by location and quality of light; you want Tatooine scene, add second Sun or whatever,… Trivially. And no need for shifting focus as viewer focuses their eyes as in natural scene, as needed….
    2) Vast majority of photographers have not even heard of nonlinear optics. That is coming. A bit further than Lytro/Wavefront 3D but is conceptually solved and in materials we are almost there. So, what would nonlinear optics bring to photographers? – Single lens cameras… Ugh? – Imagine lens of the modern 100mm size, a bit thicker maybe. Made of a single glass element, without any moving parts, controlled electronically.That not only has few orders of magnitude less distortions and the like. But is 10mm-1000mm zoom, with full quality through the range… Like? – Coming in our lifetimes.
    Maybe I am on techie’ side but I see tectonic shift in photography/media from these technologies.

  3. Kristen Jensen mentioned an app in her interview for adding motion to stills. What is the name of that app (how is it spelled)? I’m not finding it in the mac app store.