Visual Communities and Social Imaging

As a society we seem to be desperate to find motivation and/or inspiration wherever we turn. What was once the noble art of photography has become something of a hobby for anyone with an iPhone and there are more photos of peoples pub meals online now than there are pubs in the world (probably). When I first started reading up on the subject the first thing that instantly came to mind was an image I had seen on Facebook many times (but for the life of me cannot find now!)

Promoting individualism and the idea that we are all special it is  simple stock photo of a single white flower amongst a sea of red poppies with a caption to the effect of “why fit in when you were born to stand out”. Sure, some may find this inspirational or motivating – however – it loses its sheen somewhat when you see it on loop, as it is, copy and pasted hundreds of times only with different names and profile images next to it.

Yes, photography is a different beast today than it was when you would round up the family in their Sunday bests and meet with a photographer or an afternoon of snaps – nowadays if you see something, you have your phone out and it is captured and online before you could even spell photographer. This was made no more clearer to me than when I reached that magical age where, well I’ll let the Skyhooks explain:

Weddings used to be all about the fanfare and the pomp and ceremony with photographers and videographers running around making memories that would last forever – which has now become a thing of the past, seemingly with apps like WedPics which allow guests to log in to the wedding album and take as many photos as they like, which can then be accessed in high definition clarity and remembered for years to come. The cost of this is considerably cheaper as well compared to the traditional photographer – not saying that their time and effort is not worth the money – but to put it in perspective my wife and I will have been married 2 years in June and we still haven’t been able to afford to pay off the last part of our album!

Fortunately it’s not all doom and gloom on the selfie front thanks to one of my favourite photosharing apps – Snapchat. Unlike the rest the images don’t last for very long and you can make some hilarious changes with filters and the ability to draw on pictures. Snapchat is one of the best additions to social media in recent times, in my humble opinion, because it lets you connect with people without being constantly in contact with them – and whatever you show them disappears after a while so there’s no monthly cleanse of your downloads to remove 2GB of images and stupid videos of cats (thanks to all my WhatsApp group chat pals for that). The only downside to Snapchat is, well, ghosts…

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