There is no doubt social media is helping photographers in different ways. This ranges from starting photography businesses to having recognition. However, it can also be argued that social media in some ways hinder us.
Photography on the Mind
Social media can be time consuming and isolates us from moments we are. This could be from being focused on capturing the perfect photo. For example, in a beautiful landscape, someone’s mind could be focusing on pictures, instead of taking scenery with their own eyes. Sure, someone could argue it only takes a few seconds to take a picture. However you restrict yourself from looking without the lens of a mobile phone or camera.
Photography and its Ever-Growing Popularity
“It’s really weird, photography has never been so popular, but it’s getting destroyed. There have never been so many photographs taken, but photography is dying.“
– Antonio Olmos, Award Winning Photojournalist.
Looking at this quote from Olmos, this could show social media impacting methods we choose to do photography. However is it in the way we could like it to be?
Looking into our Minds
On a TED Talk by Tim Urban, he covers an idea about our minds. Urban talks about two sides to our brain: “rational decision maker” and the “instant gratification monkey”. When looking into these different sides of our brains Urban defines the instant gratification monkey as a part of the brain that:
“lives entirely in the present, has no memory of the past, no knowledge of the future and only cares about two things: easy and fun.” – Tim Urban, 2016
Could this be Bad or Good?
Now this might seem to be good in some cases, however it can be reflected on photography itself. The quote from Urban can imply that the instant gratification monkey does not rationally think about decisions. Sometimes, this can revolve around living in the moment and the digital market on social media often use this to their advantage.
Looking into digital cameras, we are able to see they are constantly evolving and are continuing to do so. This does come at a cost, not just financially (of course) but it could impact our happiness. This can affect us in ways we may not even realise at first. For example, photographer Jamie Windsor suggests that camera equipment can be seen as a distraction from photography where he states:
– Jamie Windsor, 2018
This can lead into analysis of the photography market and what it’s impact is.
Digital Photography Market
According to Zion Market Research, the photography marketing is expected to grow to $110.79 billion in the year 2021. There is an anticipated growth rate of 6.1% between 2016 and 2021. This demonstrates the market making thorough progress and it is still expanding. However, constant advertisements can make you think if your camera equipment is inadequate. Photographers often by new equipment to recreate one (or several photos) previously done on social media.
Is Photography Truthful?
It can also be said that different digital editing software (such as apps on our phones) are also a negative reflection in photography. Wim Wenders during his interview with the BBC, he believes that these devices are deceitful. “Photography was invented to be some sort of more truthful testimony of our world […], it’s not really linked to the notion of the truth anymore.”
Social Media Impact on Us (Infographic)
The infographic below some of the concerns that social media can bring to not just photographers, but to everyone who is a member of it:
Based on this infographic social media can in fact be changing peoples’ perceptions on photography and often lead to negative impacts.
However its not all Doom and Gloom
So I am aware this post does come across as a negative reflection on photography and social media, but this is not entirely the case. In fact it does often bring positive lights to photography.
Mobile Photography – The Revolutionary Style of Photography
Gartner Research in 2011 stated, 491.4 million were sold and showing a 58%increase compared to 2010. This demonstrates a start of a revolutionary method of photography – mobile photography. With the help of editing apps and mobile phones (such as iPhones and Huawei), we are able to create work that challenges traditional photography. For example Michael Christopher Brown produced on the revolution in Libya only using his iPhone. This led to Brown to gain access to a level of photography similar to the work of professional photographers. This can reflect well looking at how photography has come from the traditional mechanisms of photography.
The Internet – Pushing Photography Forward
Whether we like to admit it or not, the Internet and social media are useful tools that help connect us to each other. As of 2018 there has a report by Internet World Stats showing over 4 billion people worldwide using the Internet. There is a 1066% increase compared to Internet users in 2000. This demonstrates the Internet interactive platform for those with similar interests (e.g. photography).
Social Media is Helping Photography
Social media allows us to push photography forward in ways we were not able to do so previously. For example Oliver Laurent of the British Journal of Photography stated Instagram has enabled “[…] a strong impact with an increasing number of photojournalists using the image-sharing mobile platform to build large group of followers.” Photojournalism is described an article Ed Kashi in 3 parts. Kashi defined photojournalism as something that works in various forms. “From covering […] news and wars, to forming visual narratives and feature stories that help to illuminate and clarify the issues of […] a depth and perspective that few other mediums can achieve“.
Photojournalism on Social Media
Photojournalism enables us to explore various events and can connect ourselves to events worldwide through social media. Instagram uses hashtags to help connect you to photos and videos that people have uploaded with the same hashtag. This permits you to indulge into various photographs and the opportunity connecting with others along the same subject. Additionally, Facebook provides the opportunity to go live. This will provide an interactive connection to your audience at the click of a button.
Social media enabled photographers to expand their creativity which can be perceived as a good thing – however this can be argued against. Because there are different categories of photographs being posted everyday, it can be difficult to stand out. The success of your photography is not determined by the number of followers or “likes” you have on social media. It is about going out there and taking photographs using techniques that are best for you.
Whether you are new to photography or someone who has been doing photography for a while, it is all in your hands what you do with it.
My Question to You
Since the next blog post of mine will be my last one, I am going to be doing something different. To give you an insight into what it is, I want to ask you this question – what is your inspiration for starting photography?
Let me know your responses either in the comments or using #BTL_Photography and tag me on Twitter @BehindtheLens12