I am a longtime amateur photographer and love photography. Today, unfortunately, we are being visually suffocated by digital photographs. The advent of cellphones with the capability to take photos digitally and store millions of them on some magic cloud creates not only a burning desire to photograph everything in sight but also to show each one to a poor, unsuspecting viewer. (In the interest of disclosure, I do not have a modern cellphone.)
Portable photography is now as commonplace as texting and talking. Combined with the ability to send these photos to everyone who also has a cellphone or computer, the stratosphere is now inundated with images flying through space and time. When we get to Mars, the photos will be there.
You can talk and send photos at almost the same time, and I have seen individuals at a restaurant taking photos of their dinner and sending them to friends with a vivid description of their meal: "Hey, I'm here at O'Daniels Pub and look what I'm eating and drinking. Look who's at the bar, look who I'm with."
Photos of the "shooter's" own face, and other body parts, are being sent to God knows who. Why not? In today's society, "anything goes" seems to be the view, pun intended.
These cameras get whipped out of pockets, purses and even bras to record anything and everything, from aardvarks to the Zaragoza plains. Children and teens are busy talking, taking photos and texting, covering every subject conceivable, most of them trivial, in my opinion.
Some of these devices have brief video recording capability, allowing one to shoot video; anything that can be photographed can now be recorded, live. "Watch my dance moves."
But who knows, it may be good. Some of these young people may become great filmmakers.
Another thing, never ever say "yes" when one of these "photographers" asks if you want to see a few photos of their new baby. If you do, the floodgates of photos come streaming onto a barely discernible 2.5 x 3.7 inch viewer being held directly in front of your face as photo after photo flips by.
The photos are usually accompanied by a running commentary that you have no interest in. "This is the baby being delivered, this is the baby crying, this is the baby vomiting." You may be forced to view the entire first five years of the child's life. The individual has so many photos he or she feels obligated to show you every single one, and assumes you are interested in every single one.
The late author Susan Sontag wrote: "The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own."
The big question is what do people do with all these photos? It used to be photographs were stored in old shoeboxes with the promise, "I'll put these in the album when I have time," which of course never happened. Small plastic boxes of 35 mm slides proliferated in drawers over the years until someone from the next generation said, "What are these and who's in the pictures?" Sadly, many found their way to the garbage and memories were lost.
Today, once the cellphone memory for photos is full, are they transferred to a disc or simply deleted? My bet is they are deleted. So, even with today's new technology, some things never change.
When last seen, D. John Bray of West Seneca was loading a roll of 120 film into his Rolleicord.