A discussion came up in class the other day about the presence of digital photography in our generation, how people at concerts, events, even just hanging out with friends and day to day meals are obsessively recorded and photoshopped then instantly posted online for everyone to see. A wedding I went to recently started out with handing out passwords to an online photo album that the guests would immediately upload in real time. Kind of like a matrix isn’t it? Living in real time and also in another dimension simultaneously. When we’re compulsively looking through a lens or a screen, I don’t think people are really living the moment. It just seems like people are too concerned with how it looks like they were living at that moment. If it doesn’t look right or “perfect”, you retake the photo over and over until you’re satisfied with how it looks. The exact way you want to remember it later, and the exact way you want others to perceive it.
That’s why I love old photographs. Every shot really feels like it captured a moment in time, there’s something so beautiful about the split second that was documented, knowing they had no means to look at a screen and say “Wait, you blinked let’s do it again”, “Let’s put that through a filter”, no photoshopping, no altering, nothing changed about that exact moment in time when somebody with a camera snapped that shot and they didn’t know how it came out until they developed the film.
Growing up, I always had a few girl friends that took photos of everything all the time so I have an incredible amount of photos up until about college. I have a handful photos of the first few years of college, and the past couple of years I barely have any at all. The ironic thing is that everything up until college is such a blurry, far away memory and when I look back on them I don’t even feel like it’s me in those photos. It’s a completely different person, and I can’t even relate to the person in that photo. In the past couple of years, I met a few people who’s friendships I truly value (one of which grew into my current relationship). I have BARELY any photos with some, and NONE with the others. With my boyfriend, I might have a total of 4. My relationship with my sister has really grown in the past year, but we also have very few photos together. While it would be nice to have images to look back on fondly of these people I love, it doesn’t really matter because when we’re together I just enjoy their presence. Maybe if I was a better photographer or had a more convenient camera I’d have a different opinion. Who knows.