Photography is demonstrably the most contemporary of art forms; it is the most vital, effective and universal means of communication of facts and ideas between peoples and nations.”
The founder of the International Center of Photography, Cornell Capa wisely said more than 40 years ago. Today photography is still seen as undoubtedly the most contemporary of art forms, but in the ways that Cornell Capa would never have imagined.
Smartphone has altered our attitude towards photography
In today’s digital age we are swiftly moving away from seeing photography as a way of recording a past moment. Instead photography is taking a center stage as a tool of communication and self-expression. Smartphone, the hottest tool in content creation today, allows us to easily capture everyday moments with manic intensity. The new ease of capturing images has changed the meaning and purpose of the photography itself. Back in 2013, photographer and filmmaker, Henry Jacobson in the interview with TIME magazine said that,
Photography has always depended on technology, and every change in technology has affected the history of photography, but the smartphone, in its nature, is a device that is not for photography. It’s a device that is for communication. ”
Jacobson couldn’t put it any better. However, we can’t deny, that the smartphone is a number one device on our list when it comes to taking pictures and sharing these pictures on social media. The internet is overflowing with the images taken by a smartphone. There are now over 3 billion images shared daily between Snapchat, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Whether it’s a picture of your cat sleeping on your sofa or a picture of yourself sleeping on your sofa, we use smartphones to capture these everyday moments. Unlike 20 years ago when we all had a nice section of photo albums in our bookshelves, filled with pictures from very special moments of our lives. Today, we have a phone full of images that we sometimes don’t even look at twice. Rather than developing photographs and putting them in our photo albums, we share, like and forget about them.
Is social media changing the art of photography?
It’s hard to recall those days when traditional camera was the main tool for capturing a good quality image. And if you were to ask me, it is not the smartphone camera itself that attracts people to take images, it is the ease of use and mobile apps that puts the smartphone before the stand-alone digital cameras.
Smartphones and editing apps that comes with them allow us to alter and experiment with our images. With the rise of visually based social media platforms, like Instagram and Snapchat, the purpose of photography somehow has taken a different stance. We no longer view photography as a form of art, since we use edited, low-quality and aesthetically less appealing pictures to communicate with others on social media platforms.
In our society that is becoming more and more visual, we use images as one of the main forms for visually expressing ourselves and telling people who we are and what we do. Images that are often edited using Instagram filters. As Francesco D’Orazio (@abc3d), Pulsar’s VP of Product, said in his TEDx talk that it took us nearly 1000 years to accept the idea that it is OK to share a picture of yourself eating lunch or a selfie on social media with others.
But is it OK?
I suppose the answer hides in the human nature: the more we have of something, the less we appreciate it. Photography is everywhere now, thanks to the digital age and perhaps to Steve Jobs too. Smartphones, editing apps and visual-based social media have dramatically changed the idea of photography and visual self-expression. I would be lying if I said that it wouldn’t be OK for us to share images of every moment of our lives with others. In our visual society, it is more than OK to communicate with others through visual expression. But when I imagine myself in 2026, which is 10 years from now, I really do wonder if the photography is still going to be a form of art, and if there is going to be a photo album in my bookshelf.
What about you?
Share your opinion in the comments section below,
Behind The Filter
[…] The Evolution Of Photography In The Digital Age: where is your photo album? […]