More on FAQ #201
201. Humans have been striving for a universal language for hundreds of years, and photography has been around for almost 200 years. Why has photography only now become our most “universal language”?
Because in the 21st century three new factors have enhanced photography’s role as a form of “communication” and not merely a form of “illustration”:
1. Digital photography
2. The Internet
3. The smartphone
None of those three things played any role in photography for the 19th and most of the 20th century.
Today those three things largely define how photography is practiced. See also #2 on this page.
(In the 19th and 20th centuries photography could not fulfill nearly as well the expectations of a “universal language,” because until it got the three things listed above photography did not have a number of the capabilities listed here.)