Are People Taking Too Many Photographs?

Thanks to phones and tablets there has been an increase in the number of people now taking photographs. With this increase I’ve also noticed a rise in the number of complaints about people taking photographs. We have to bob and weave down a street so as not to disrupt those wanting to capture the moment. I’ve been barged out the way by people wanting to take a photo, or had my own view covered by a raised camera. Some even throw themselves into harms way just to get a selfie, or now encounter every event in life with a back turned and a camera raised. Does nobody experience real life through their own eyes any more? Along with this comes the concern that photography is no longer the art that it use to be.

For the most part I think that cameras along with the internet have added to our lives. There are many events and wonders in the world that I would have never known about if it weren’t for the person that was there to capture it. I love to share my own images because I know that somewhere, somebody might take a lot of pleasure in seeing them just as I have felt from seeing what others have captured. Through sharing a photo I have taken I am also sharing my passion for the subject matter.

There has been concerns about how observing an event through a camera lens can lessen the strength of our memory of that time, but I would also argue the opposite. When I was in Conwy I stayed out and sat on the castle walls for a lot longer than I would have usually, just waiting for the sun to move so that I could see the scene in different lighting. I also kneel down or stand on top of things to alter my perspective. One of the reasons that I developed an enjoyment of photography was that it encouraged me to go out walking more and I found myself looking around at the smaller details, trying to find that thing that would make for an interesting image. It’s also the difference between wanting to take photography as a serious hobby and just wanting to capture quick snapshots as we go. Even if we now have cameras that do a lot of the work for us, composing an image well is still a skill that can take time to master. I’m not a professional though, so others probably have more to say on this.

I still think there is a time and a place for cameras however. I’ve been to numerous gigs where I’ve had to stand behind a person who was attempting to film the whole thing. At the Whitby Gothic festival an argument broke out behind me because a person with a massive camera was obscuring the views of the people behind them. The rest of us just wanted to experience and enjoy the music first hand. Official photos and concert videos of a much higher quality are often released later on anyway. Another example I often see are people taking photos of artwork in galleries – despite the no camera signs. I have heard that this can damage the paintings and it’s never going to be the same as going to see them in real life.

Even though I love photography, I am also incredibly wary of when it is not appropriate to get my camera out. Cameras are capable of opening our eyes to something, but can also put a barrier between us and what we’re experiencing. It’s great that people want to capture and share so much of the world around us, but we also need to choose when it’s better to experience an event fully for ourselves. Every once in a while it’s good to question whether or not we should be getting the camera out.

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About wallcat

I have a strong passion for computing. In particular programming for which I am able to use a variety of languages including C++, Visual C#, Blitz Basic, Actionscript 2.0, Python and Lua. I also enjoy web-design and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, PHP/SQL and Javascript. As well as programming I have a strong background in art and enjoy drawing in my spare time. When I’m not sat at my computer I like to keep fit by going to the gym or using my exercise ball.

2 responses to “Are People Taking Too Many Photographs?”

  1. Sue Archer says :

    Hi Jo, I came this way via Lori’s blog, and I’m glad I did! I love your post. I do think people sometimes miss the moment when they are too busy trying to capture it. I’ve also run across people who want to stage everything (in photos of people), which seems to me to contradict the whole point of taking pictures in the first place.

    • wallcat says :

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I sometimes feel self-conscious as I enjoy photography, but I also know a lot of people who complain about having to constantly avoid cameras – I understand why they feel that way. I’ve seen a lot of people bringing tablets out recently and watching entire shows through them as they record it, but I still like to observe directly through my own eyes at times. Besides, I find that when I look back over my old photos and video footage the most interesting ones are not of the shows (it’ll never beat seeing it in real life) but of family and friends. You can see how you’ve all grown up and changed. I agree, I don’t like photo’s to be staged, but it’s hard for people not to notice when the camera comes out. They either start posing or run away, lol.

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