Sunday, July 14, 2013

Photographic memories

My wife found our wedding pictures the other day, after a multi-year absence --- the pictures, not the wife.

They were among the things that are still surfacing from cardboard cartons seven years after moving to a new house. Prior to that move, they had not been seen for decades (Words of advice to the betrothed --- be less concerned about the formalities of your wedding, including the traditional photographs, and more about having fun with your friends on the big day).

All of this coincided with an article in the New York Times about the changing role of photography in our lives. Not so long ago, people took photography seriously, spent big bucks on expensive cameras, took college courses, framed their work and hung it on the wall.

Some still do but, increasingly, photos are used for communication, and less for recording important moments. Social media is full of spontaneous smartphone photos that are intended for friends, classmates, family --- people who will get the context instantly and react with an OMG.

There is even an app called Snapchat where uploaded photos disappear after being viewed, leaving behind no indelicate images that might be embarrassing if seen by a parent or prospective employer down the road.

In fact, The Times says "Photos are fast becoming an entirely new type of dialogue. The cutting-edge crowd is learning that communicating with a simple image ... is easier than bothering with words."

Suddenly, I feel so old.


  1. I heard Gore Vidal interviewed once and he said that modern communication is audio-visual and no longer based on the written word. He saw a decreasing role for novels and creative writing in the future.

  2. Things are certainly changing. I suppose that if future generations don't bother with words as much, they won't be able to spell properly anymore. They'll write in abbreviated formats the way they do on Twitter, cell phones, etc...

  3. Yeah, so where's the wedding photo?? If you talk the talk you hafta walk the walk, Douglas.