One reason that people may take photographs nowadays is to look back on the memories that they have made. Individual photos might not have the same meaning compared to others. Photography is a personal diary, allowing others to reflect on different memories.


Nostalgia Behind a Photograph

Looking at this photo [above], it could be significant to someone; it was a part of a holiday that bought new memories. This could be me reading into the photograph too much, but it can be true in a lot of cases. It means more than just a picture; the photographer can recall the backstory behind the photo. However not many people will fully understand the backstory. This can be precious to the person who took the photo in the first place.

Keeping the Memories

There are different ways people store photographs: on a computer, a scrapbook, a mobile phone and online. Nowadays many people share memories online for not only themselves, but also for others. For instance, uploading photographs onto Facebook. It reminds the user of a certain memory that took place over a year ago. Additionally there is the opportunity to share with others by tagging them in the photograph.Before the Internet, it was not really possible for us to have the ease of sharing to a mass audience. It is important to hold onto the memories that we enjoy and reflect back on them.

Personal Life and Photography

Whilst some photographers publish their memories onto social media, this could be take away the personal attachment behind that memory. Some argue social media damages our personal lives when taking photos. Evidently, some photographers documented their breaks off social media to pursue their own lives and publish it online. Although this does seem ironic, it helps raise awareness to look at taking photographs without sharing it to social media. One example being from Paul Miguel, who released a video in 2018 to YouTube about quitting photography. Miguel mentions the importance of having a good mind set to let your creativity come through. If you are finding yourself to not be in a good state of mind, this will hinder your photography. This is not only truthful in general lives as a photographer, but also as a photographer on social media.

Social Media and Photographers

One feature on social media that could seem harmless can cause a bigger impact that we can imagine – the like button. The like button is used to spread positivity amongst the community. Amelia Tait conducted a survey amongst 518 social media users to explore the different reactions that social media and the “like button” bring. It was shown that 89% admitted to being happy receiving positive praise on social media. Meanwhile 40% of those people would feel happiness as long as the “likes” continued. However it can be argued the “like” button can also cause harm to social media users.

Psychological Behaviours

Clarissa Silva uses the term “slot machine effect“. This is described as receiving external validation (through likes on social media), to feel digitally connected. There are indications likes on social media help make others happier. James Fowler (2014) states “the online world opened up the possibility that we are spreading emotions in a way were never spread before“. Social media provides opportunities when putting individual content onto social media. This can ranges from a future for a potential business to keeping the community fresh. Although social media provides happiness for photographers for these reasons – however what cost does it have?

Think about it

Morning Jolt describes not having likes on social media. This brings an interesting argument – would anyone post as much if the “like button” did not exist? Photographer Jimmy Mclntyre (2017) released an article about how the Internet has effected his photography. It shows his reasonings for not be as connected online. Although he was able to contact fellow photographers. He mentions they only spoke about likes and comments as opposed to photography itself. This raises a concerning issue that likes are becoming more important instead of releasing content.


To Conclude

When looking back photos, they are often seen as a personal reflection for people to look back on that certain point and recall that memory when seeing that photo for themselves. When others look back on the photo that were not in that moment, they might not be able to fully understand the personal nostalgia that you might feel. Social media has allowed us the opportunity to look into the memories that people may have had, even if it is just the photo and no caption attached.

My Questions to You

I am interested to know the reason why you do photography? Let me know your answers on Twitter by using the #BTL_Photography

There is another question I want you to think about – Is social media media and photography changing us?