Converging Media & Everyone's a Photographer these days
everyone is a photographer, EVERYONE
I think I've always been a photographer. Self-proclaimed, that is. And in all fairness, I think calling yourself a photographer is less shameful than self-appointed nicknames. I graduated college with journalism degrees (but no photojournalism). An old friend from college went on to become an engineer and these days takes such beautiful pictures that we hired her in a snap and she took all of our wedding pictures last October.
With no offense to aforementioned friend and photographer-- these days, everyone is a photographer. Just like everyone is an artist or writer-- it's a sign of the times and mostly thanks to technology. Some are just better than others and some think they are better than everyone. I don't know where I fit into this statement ;) Bottom line, everyone has some kind of camera in their pocket or purse and they use it now more than ever before. The integration of internet services into these devices makes it so easy to share online, we often can't help ourselves.
In my day, we didn't have Instagram!
In 2005, I was working on my BA after a bit of a break. I had my Associates in journalism and wasn't doing anything with it but was very quick to brag about it whenever I felt the need (there never truly existed a need). I ended up writing an angry paper (I don't remember for which class) about my disdain for cellphones with built in cameras and how this made everyone think they were a photographer and that their pictures were great or fresh or truly artistic. Pushing 30, I have realized a few things.
- My cellphone at the time did not have a camera and perhaps I was a little jealous.
- I have noticed that most pictures I upload to my blogs, or facebook have all been taken with my iPhone4 and not my fancy schmancy camera that cost some pretty pennies and is dusty right now wherever she is.
doing it right
I have become a statistic simply out of the ease of technology and the marriage of the cellphone and the camera: a match made in converging media heaven. Although I used to view it as more of a hell than heaven, it's not so bad. Is it growing up? Perhaps a bit. Growing up parallels the same maturation of technology and if you're "doing it right" you usually learn more compassion and understanding. I've learned to understand that there's nothing wrong with someone feeling the wonderful emotions associated with taking a beautiful picture, regardless of how they arrived at it. It almost becomes an argument of what is art, and I hate that argument because everything is art-- it's aesthetic interpretation. And so is this.
making it easy
It's so easy to take pictures and share them these days. There exist digital cameras in many forms, with many price points, available to everyone. I personally have built-in cameras on my iPhone, 3ds, and laptop. I actually thanked the technology gods when I was able to take a picture of me and my childhood crush (Joel from MST3K) using my Nintendo DS camera because my phone had died. It was a terrible picture, but was captured none-the-less. The DS, along with digital cameras made especially for younger children, are a great way for children to learn to take pictures and express themselves artistically. The DS especially, has built-in photo editing software lending itself nicely to the creativity and imagination of any child-- or adult like me.
upload, tag, share, like, pin, ETC!
There exist tons of places to upload your pictures-- many more than back in 2005. Some are more user-friendly and artistic than others, but there is something for everyone. Back in 2004, I was using photobucket, and in my opinion, it feels like nothing has changed about it since 2004, and that's not a compliment. I love to use flickr, personally. For a time I had a tumblr account but stopped using it because I didn't know anyone else on there. Many of my friends use Instagram, and perhaps one of these days I'll be hip enough to use it too. Many of these photo hosts can be uploaded to directly from the device you are using, eliminating the need for computers, transfer cables, or email. Once housed on the internet, some of these places allow you to share to other sites with a click or two, making it unnecessary to upload the same picture to three different social media haunts that you frequent. As I mentioned flickr is my host of choice, and once uploaded, I can quickly share to my other accounts such as twitter, blogger, facebook, or tumbler.
Heather Says: So I recant and have changed my stance. I feel like it's such a waste if someone didn't use their smartphone to capture pictures and share them. In some cases, the only camera someone owns might be built into their smartphone. This example of converging media makes it possible for all of us to see new things and places that we might not have otherwise seen. In this technological age it takes about 5 seconds to snap a picture of Buffalo in Yellowstone and share it with everyone on your facebook. Been there and did that.