I’ve been thinking about photography this summer as I’ve been watching everyone take out their cell phones for concerts, sporting events, fireworks, selfies, etc…basically ALL THE TIME. Why do we do it? and what does everyone do with all the images?
So I thought before I’d re-invent the wheel I’d see if anyone wrote about it……well of course Om Malick did and here are some excerpts from his great article in the New Yorker. You can read the full article here
In the Future, We Will Photograph Everything and Look at Nothing
“To understand, one needs to understand how our relationship with photographs has changed. From analog film cameras to digital cameras to iPhone cameras, it has become progressively easier to take and store photographs. Today we don’t even think twice about snapping a shot. Photography has seen the value shift from the stand-alone individual aesthetic of the artist to the collaborative and social aesthetic of services like Facebook and Instagram. In the future the real value creation will come from stitching together photos as a fabric, extracting information and then providing that cumulative information as a totally different package.”
We have come to a point in society where we are all taking too many photos and spending very little time looking at them.
“The definition of photography is changing, too, and becoming more of a language,” the Brooklyn-based artist and professional photographer Joshua Allen Harris told me. “We’re attaching imagery to tweets or text messages, almost like a period at the end of a sentence. It’s enhancing our communication in a whole new way.”
“In other words the term ‘photographer’ is changing. As a result, photos are less markers of memories than they are Web-browser bookmarks for our lives. And, just as with bookmarks, after a few months it becomes hard to find photos or even to navigate back to the points worth remembering. Google made hoarding bookmarks futile. Today we think of something, and then we Google it. Photos are evolving along the same path as well.”
“Humans have over two billion smartphones and, based on the ultra-conservative assumption that we each upload about two photos a day to various Internet platforms, that means we take about four billion photographs a day. It’s hard to imagine how many photos total are sitting on our devices.”
“Thanks to our obsession with photography—and, in particular, the cultural rise of selfies—the problem of how to sort all these images has left the realm of human capabilities. Instead, we need to augment humans with machines, which are better at sifting through thousands of photos, analyzing them, finding commonalities, and drawing inferences around moments that matter. Machines can start to learn our style of photography.”
Thank you Om Malick, this whole premise still rings true today. I’d love to go to a concert some day and enjoy the music without anyone holding a phone up in front of my face!