Doing a quick search in Google or one of the other search engines can easily yield dozens of images from everyday life, snapped on camera phones, small pocket-sized digital cameras, or high-end digital SLR’s. In many cases, camera phone images are so blurry as to be of little value, but they abound in the wide world of the Internet, and as small portable imagery devices get into more and more hands, the sheer volume of electronic images just continues to increase.
Some people ask the question of whether the digital photography revolution is necessarily a good thing. It is easier, faster and cheaper than ever before to capture memorable moments for later viewing. Because of this, digital photos often feel more “real” than traditional film-based images, as dozens or hundreds of images can be snapped continuously at no cost without interrupting the flow of a moment in order to have participants re-create it “for a picture”.
Because of this essential freedom to review, arrange, and remove unwanted images, we are far more generous with our shutters than was generally the case with more expensive film-based methods of image capture. Because of inexpensive storage however, many people never bother to remove most unnecessary images, resulting in bloated virtual albums with duplicates, accidental pictures of thumbs, uninspiring shots of brick walls, pavement, and more.
However, because of this essentially greater freedom to snap, some make the argument that many of our images have less value. This is tricky territory, however – who’s to say that a plastic bag lying on the sidewalk isn’t lovely, or that an overexposed picture of Fluffy the dog isn’t artistic or as valuable as a more traditional family photo? In the end, there’s not much point arguing about taste.
One thing is certain, though – as more and more cameras find their way into more hands, the numbers of images available on line are sure to continue to multiply – and whether good, bad, or ugly, each of these images has meaning for someone. And when you get down to it, individual freedom is one thing we can all likely agree on.