Sustainabilty is one side of the Photosphere coin and photography is the other. Today, almost anyone can become a photographer, thanks to the availability of better and better cameras in our ubiquitous phones. And once we capture these images, we can’t wait to share them. How are our pictures on Facebook and Instagram different from those we look at in physical albums? Does it make a difference on how we remember certain things and memories?
The last two decades have seen a humongous growth in technology. The novelty of phones, computers and tablets has worn off, and left in its wake a rising pile of electronic waste from gadgets that become obsolete almost as soon as they are bought. Many of these gadgets contain within them what was once a separate entity: the camera. With the camera being able to fit in our pockets, available to anyone with a phone, the number of photographs that are being clicked today has increased many folds.
A photograph captures a moment in time. Clicking photographs was not as common once as it is today, and only a moment deemed worthy and important was captured. It created a memory, which not only included what was in the picture, but also what happened before or after it was clicked. Each one came with a story.
Today however, there are tens of pictures in every Instagram story, and our memories around pictures are the reminders that Facebook gives. As the number of photographs we click increase, the value each one holds for us decreases. It is often said, ‘excess of everything is bad’. Does today’s excess of photography then, make it less worthwhile than it was some years ago? There was a time when taking a photo was a conscious decision, and not an instinctive response. Every photo – whether it was focused or not – was carefully placed in albums, to be looked at later; and deleting wasn’t an option. There were 36 photographs in a reel, used judiciously; and now there are 25 filters for every click, used excessively.
So is this the end for photography? I don’t know. But just as e-books have not yet killed paperbacks, maybe the quantity of photos will not kill the quality; and every once in a while, from a sea of pictures we’ll find one that grabs our attention, and tells a story deeper that what is seen.