Listen to Beyoncé and “put that damn camera down!” The pop diva screamed these words at a July concert in Atlanta in response to an annoying fan. When she pulled the fan up on stage with her, he held his phone up the entire time taping, not experiencing the once-in-a-lifetime chance to share the same oxygen as this legendary talent. Her words serve as a lesson to society as a whole.
There is a magnetic force between today’s society and smart phones; our attention loops back to them when we’re curious, bored, excited, hungry, or sad. Any emotion and any situation can leave us fixated on that powerful, sleek, addictive rectangle.
These phones also boast an irresistible ability to take photographs. Quick shutter speeds for high quality photos lay in the palm of our hands; how could we not take 100 photos a day?
But can we really save the significance of a moment via 1,000 one-dimensional photos? Actual memories are formed by one, present-minded, three-dimensional experience.
There are two ways to take advantage of something: exploiting something and making the most of something. Stick with the latter; take advantage of your handheld memory-saver, but don’t overdo it. The experience should take precedence over the recording in all situations.
Like most millenials, I’ve been a culprit of hiding behind a camera during one of my family vacations. Now, when I look back on the photographs hoping to recollect fond moments, I’m not only less familiar with the events and places in the photos, but I’m also stuck with a surplus of photographs clogging up my albums.
Capturing life should be more like my photography class in high school. We worked with 35mm cameras and were given a roll of film, each with only 20 exposures. Try completing an assignment in 20 photos when you’ve gotten used to 500 picture bursts on an iPhone, where there’s no delete button and there’s no extra chances. You have to be thoughtful about your pictures, as opposed to the mindless, furious tapping of your smartphone’s camera button.
This is the first generation to have digital photos as far back as early childhood. When my dad comes across a box of old photographs it’s a nostalgic experience; there’s certainly something to be said for the tangibility of an old photo. Scrolling through albums is not as much of a moving experience as dusting off a hazy picture of your mom when she was 5 years old.
Digital pictures have a muffled nostalgia. Having to scroll through a ton of other unnecessary, repetitive frames takes even more away from looking back on a memory. By clearing out all of your extra pictures, your phone’s pictures become more of a heartfelt album than a nonsensical stop-motion film.
Show your appreciation for a happening, whether it’s a night out freshman year, a Sun Devil football game or a Beyoncé concert, by staying present and seeing the show first-hand, not behind a digital curtain in front of your nose.
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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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