Memories and the Digital Image Revolution

NPR had a series of articles last week on the theme of digital photography and memories. Here’s a link to one of them, and there you can link to the other articles.

The series resonated with me, as I have posted more than once on this blog about digital photography, cell phone photography, and my own approach to photography. I’m not making my living from photography, and I doubt if ever I would want to, or could for that matter. It’s tough being a professional photographer, but obviously very rewarding for some. But back to the series.

The articles each, and together, make a number of great points about the explosion of digital photography, the means to take the photos like cell phones, and the ways we share with, or impose, those images on others, like Facebook. That cell phones thrust above the crowd to “record the event” has become the norm at any public event, not just concerts or school plays, is just one of the many manifestations of this phenomenon. Are we creating memories, or replacing memories? Are we failing to experience the moment in order to record it? And when we record the moment, either in still images or videos, do we ever actually go back to review, and “re-member” the actual event? Are we all playing a game of “paparazzi for a day” in the hope our camera will capture that decisive moment that goes viral, or appears on the cover of the Star Inquirer? Awash in a sea of images and videos, how do we stand out, or do we actually care? I make images and want to share them, usually because they are images of other people doing things they like (driving their cars fast at an autocross event.) These images are developed and processed before making them available, and in that sense are “made” rather than taken–it doesn’t make them better, but it makes them something different. To me that’s what constitutes photography–it’s a process involving hands, head and heart.