You often hear that "You must have a good camera your pictures are so good!" and "we" think to ourselves "wow, that cook has a great frying pan his food is so good" ... NOT! However .... I confess that regardless of composition and similar factors, the current cameras sure improve the technical quality of photographs made by the masses. I can't focus fast enough or reliably enough when subjects are moving (like in flying bird photography). Also my hands are not as steady as is sometimes required. In short Image Motion Compensation is a fantastic aid.
Seems to me that it's now vastly easier to learn to make
technically adequate photographs in most conditions than it was 50
years ago, yeah.
And, because of things like auto-focus and what you're calling
IMC, it's now *possible* to make some photos that were pretty much
impossible 50 years ago.
I strongly suspect that what happened, say, when I was starting to take photos, is that some people with good eyes got flustered by the technical difficulties, lost interest, and moved on to something else. Others persevered and became technically adequate, or better, photographers; but it was a front-end filter that eliminated some people. I think I somewhat saw that happening around me at the time.
And some people who didn't have much eye found the technology to
be something they could cope with, and became dedicated amateur
photographers (like me) or for a while local professionals in
small markets. Of course anybody can become an amateur
photographer, there's no filter at all, never was, so I'm sure
lots of people like that still do.
The change will be causing a modest but real increase in the
artistic quality of photos especially at the *lower* professional
levels, I suspect. (Presumably the top levels are so selective
that there were always huge numbers of people prepared to fill the
small number of positions actually available, and they've always
been first-rate in multiple ways.) I suspect it's no longer
possible to be a small local pro *just* on technical competence
and an "ordinary" vision.
And yeah, I do think it's very relevant to things like wildlife
photography -- knowledge of the wildlife, and field-craft skills,
have always been important, but now it's easier for people who are
well-started getting that knowledge to easily pick up adequate
technical photographic skills to use their knowledge to make
pictures. A photographer deciding to go into bird photography has
a LOT more stuff to learn than a bird expert who decides to start
photographing the birds he sees.
-- David Dyer-Bennet, dd-b@xxxxxxxx; http://dd-b.net/ Words Over Windows http://WordsOverWindows.dd-b.net/ Snapshots: http://dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/data/ Photos: http://dd-b.net/photography/gallery/