Sunday, May 10, 2015

A pic is worth a hundred words

In a world where everyone and their six-year old can take a crystal clear photo with a smartphone, maybe a picture isn't as valuable as it used to be.  Here are a few of the ramblings in my head on the "shoot and post" age of photography. 

Too many posts spoil the shot
I am as snap happy as the next person.  I've posted pics of meals on Facebook (and I'm so resisting the urge to post one of my recent Asian meal in Belgium).  And two-legged carrots. But with the ease of digital cameras and smart phones to almost instantly capture the moment and share it with the world via FB or Instagram, does it cheapen the experience after a while?  I find myself appreciating photos less than before and not only because everyone can master the technical difficulty now with autofocus.  It's more a question of the over-exposure (no pun intended). 

When everyone puts their vacation pics online, we just scroll through quickly, maybe "like" or comment and move on.  We are less amazed and awed by photos.  We just expect them, consume them and continue.  I don't know about you, but now I find myself pausing more on FB for actual text status updates.  The content grabs my attention more than the easily-shared photo.  That said, I still share silly photos and expect a certain number of "likes." (More on that addiction another time.)

When people put the craze in the selfie craze
One of the few shots free of selfie-takers!
We recently went to the amazing zoo and gardens of Para Daiza in Belgium.  When we were in the treetop observatory for the giraffes, there was one lovely animal who came close to the wooden rail when a young teen gave her some leaves to eat.  And then it was a feeding frenzy of another type that ensued.  A gaggle of girls started turning their smartphones around to take selfies with the giraffe.  It was quite a sight to see five or six 13-year olds flashing their braces-clad grins and posing with the unassuming giraffe.  It was nearly impossible for the rest of us to get a classic shot without including their long, straightened hair.  I suppose the giraffe is used to it by now.  But I wonder if the girls even took the time to appreciate the giraffe or were more thrilled by getting selfies with an animal.  The zoo has apparently realized the danger of too many selfies because they put up this sign about no selfie sticks.  That could scare the animals and be even more annoying for fellow visitors. 
Classic amateur photograpers.
Good thing I left my drone at home.
Be here now
We've all seen the busloads of Japanese tourists clicking away at monuments before they are whisked on to their next destination.  Or that father of three at Sea World with his state-of-the-art video camera or tablet permanently glued to his hand.  But what if we were no better?  When we view the world almost exclusively through a lens, do we really see it?  Sometimes I find myself taking pics and truly looking at them or enjoying them later.  Take the shot, savor the moment after. 

It's as if I don't trust my memories anymore and rely soley on my camera to retrace my trip.  Have you ever noticed your eye can pick up so many more details than the lens of your smartphone anyway?  Unless you have a truly sophisticated camera (and the iPhone ones do come close) you are missing some of the definition and lighting that only the human eye can really capture.

Everything in moderation, including pictures
I am certainly not anti-photography and consider myself a bit of an amateur photographer.  I will still take pics and so will you.  But maybe I should think before I shoot.  And appreciate while I shoot.  Photography is still an art, and one that is more and more accessible to us all.  But, please, less silly selfies!

I'll leave you with one pic that might actually be worth more than a hundred words.  My baby doll absolutely pooped after our zoo trip. 

1 comment:

Holly said...

I am so totally with you - I love photographs as much as the next person, but there is definitely value in taking some time to be screen-free. It really makes you appreciate life more.