Technology: The Death of Good Photography


I recently spent 10 minutes browsing through a friend’s newest photo collection on his Facebook profile. That’s 10 minutes I will never get back. Almost every photograph was of him pulling a stupid face with a beer in his hand. I wonder if he’ll be embarrassed when he looks back at these pictures as an old man. Perhaps Facebook won’t exist then (if he’s lucky).

While clicking from one predictable photo to the next, I realized why people like him do this—because they can. Remember 10-12 years ago when you used actual cameras? You had to buy film that gave you 24 or 36 shots. Back then, it wouldn’t have occurred to you to turn the camera on yourself and snap a shot of your open mouth to show off your tongue piercing. Now, because it’s so easy to snap, load, delete, and snap again, you do it.

All it takes is a couple of inbreds at a party to notice their friend is lying face-first on the floor in a puddle of his own vomit.

“Hey, dude, look—Jason’s passed out on the floor. He’s lying in his own puke! Let’s pull his pants down and take a picture of his hairy ass!”

Imagine if you had a roll of film with 36 shots and only had two left. You’d punch yourself in the face for even thinking such a thought. Why would I waste my film on crap like this? I’ll save these snaps for a special occasion. People don’t think like this now. They think, “Hey, look—Timmy’s sleeping; let’s put our dicks on his face and take a photo.”

How about we go back to times when taking a photograph was a huge event? You might not have lived through it, but your parents or grandparents could have. They lived in times when a photo would be taken once a year. The photographer would come around to your house with his big camera. He’d set up the tripod and put big floodlights on either side of it. He’d even have a cape draped across the damn thing. The whole family would be washed and dressed up for this rare occasion.

Nobody would dream of pulling out the old rabbit ears on a family member. It would ruin the photo and they’d probably be ostracized.

Taking a photograph of someone used to be special. Gone are the days when photographs meant something. People have thousands of meaningless photos on the Internet now. Taking a photograph of someone used to be special.

Facebook can be very handy, like a lot of new creations and technology, but boy does it dumb people down a peg. Why do people continue to put up pictures of meals they are about to eat? It’s on Twitter, too! Why do you think we care? Unless you’re really into food and you know most of your friends are, too, what in your right mind makes you think I would care about what you’ve just ordered at the restaurant? You do it because it’s so easy to do. If it was slightly more difficult, you wouldn’t bother. If you had to email this picture out to people, you wouldn’t do it.

The same goes for messages in general. “It’s raining outside.” Oh, shit, really? I know, I looked out of my window, too. Were we supposed to be going somewhere today? If not, then why are you writing this? How about the “bored” message that people post on Facebook? I wouldn’t care if we were in the same room sitting five feet from each other and you told me you were bored, so try to work out what my reaction would be to you telling me you’re bored over the Internet. Bored? Really? Then find something to do.

This new age of easily sharable pictures and expressions of thought is a bad thing. It means that so much of the content fluttering around the Internet, particularly on the social-networking sites, is complete crap.

A piece of advice. Before you update your Facebook status next time, ask yourself if you would write this in an email to somebody or tell them over the phone. You have your friends’ email addresses and telephone numbers, right? If you wouldn’t call them up to tell them that some of the cereal you ate earlier in the day went up your nose, don’t do it on Facebook. It might actually make your profile less annoying. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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