Monday, 25 May 2009

Digital photography is so indiscriminate

Digital photography gives us the capacity to take pictures; if not the ability to select decent subjects. The former is a Good Thing; the lack of the latter is not.

In losing the necessity of selectivity that came with the very limited number of exposures on a traditional film, photography has become indiscriminate, ubiquitous, wearisome. Combined with the ever-increasing capacity of free storage, the result is hundreds - thousands! - of pictures with little interest or value, even to the person that took them.

Just because people can take pictures, they too often forget to stop and wonder if they should. And, worse, if they should publish them, all of them, without thought for editing, for selection, for some consideration of quality.

I am not just pointing the finger outwards, by the by; I have multiple, several, lots of pictures of a pumpkin lantern that are fundamentally the same, intrinsically identical. What can I say? I have a thing for pumpkins. In my defence, I would offer that I have not published them to the world.

By contrast, I can think of any number - yes, madam, that's the very number - of places where I have seen shot after interminable shot of the same dross dull dire event, many of which I have attended. Quantity: sky high. Quality: rock bottom.

Do not misunderstand me, digital photography is a Good Thing, a Very Good Thing. It is liberating, emancipating, glorious.

But it has always been true, if I may, that Hell is other people's pictures. And now there are so many of them.

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