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The perils of an over-photographed world

I had a conversation the other day with a friend about photographs.. While that subject matter may not be the most thrilling of conversation pieces, it led me down a a path wondering if our supersaturation of cameras  and selfies, now couplies, will lead to a lessening value of the past.

Think of it like this.. 
There are haunting images from the early 1900s .. people seemingly frowning in photos. There's images of county fairs in which men are posing in top hates and full suits with their wives, dressed in full length attire.. The subjects photographed in the early days of cameras didn't do self images, didn't pose for Facebook, and were hardly snapped at all.

That's why taking a photo, whether it be a family portrait or taking a shot of a dead child in the post-mortem, was a special event. 

It's been said that Abraham Lincoln loved to have his picture taken. However, even with his affinity for the camera, I doubt he or anyone else would understand or fit in well with today's self-absorbed selfie culture.

But it brings up the interesting question: Are we over doing it?  

Even during my youth, there'd be a few shots of Christmas, birthdays, or other events. Now, at any given family affair, there could be hundreds if not thousands of images, captured quickly and immediately updated to the servers of your favorite social networking site. The world can see all of your life at a moment's notice--and most of the world doesn't even notice at all. 

On the subject of whether we take too many pictures today, I am somewhat torn. I'd personally love to have more images, or even videotape, of my younger days in the late 20th century. I'd be gratified if I could have just a few more snapshots of relatives who passed away. But at the same time, the lack of an immense collection of pictures, it leads me to only cherish more the few I have obtained.

On the flip side, there's a tremendous amount of snapshots of current affairs. You can flip through but .. well.. there's often too many. 

People posing, photo bombing...all of that.. Facebook accounts filled with thousands of images, some often appearing almost the same, litter phones across the world. And somehow, that often seems to cheapen a very meaningful event.

Don't get me wrong.. There's a value is taking lots of photos. I used to laugh at my wife for doing it, until I realized she captured some of the most precious images of my son's early smiles I could imagine. I have come to value ALL of those pictures.

But gone are the days of a photo being 'the moment' when people stop, drop, and often frown--not because they were unhappy but because in their time it was culturally acceptable and often implied that you should look as serious as you could for an image. Because taking a picture was important. They were few but meaningful... And not, many times, they are plentiful and vacant..

I doubt a happy medium will ever be achieved. After all, the future is now. And with Google Glass and othe devices ready to videotape an entire life on the way, not one moment will be lost.
And they may be the worst thing ever..


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