Fleeting Moment; An Argument Against the Camera Phone

FOMO: Fear of missing out. Yes, it’s a thing. And there are studies that say that in the future, we’re all just going to try to record everything and be so busy trying to record it all vs actually experiencing it. Part of this comes from use of a camera phone. Camera phones have enabled this whole instinct to capture the moment, pulling it out and documenting everything around you. In contrast, people generally don’t do this with dedicated cameras because there is a much different experience involved with it. It’s much more careful with significantly more thought put into the intent of taking photos vs shooting something with a phone and hoping that you don’t fill up the storage.

The problem: We miss moments.

Chris Gampat Clay Von Carlowitz Portrait Session March 2015 (49 of 56)ISO 4001-640 sec at f - 3.5

So this bring me to a bigger point:

  • If you are so busy documenting and capturing moments, then you don’t have time to experience them.

to that end…

  • If you are so busy capturing moments and not experiencing, then nothing captured is special anymore because all of it is just captured.

It’s the reason why film editors work so hard to telling a specific story when creating cinematic masterpieces.

A future where people will be documenting everything at all moments of the day and night is a time when things won’t really be seen as special because we’ll have no major emotional connection to the moments so to speak unless it all ends up like that episode of Black Mirror where capturing is just second nature.

It gives us, as photographers, an even bigger problem though. It means that literally everyone is capturing and that drastically changes moment. To that end, you’re not needed as a wedding photographer, photojournalist, etc. And part of this problem lies with the fact that perhaps not enough of us as photographers are spending time creating rather than capturing.

When you capture an image, you’re simply sitting back and waiting for a moment to happen. You typically have some sort of training and experience doing so and that can make you better than others out there. But to that end, you’re also probably not exercising your creative freedom. When you create, you actually have more control over the moment. You’re working with the light, parts of the scenes, and all aspects of it. You’re quite literally taking an environment and making it conform to your own creative vision.

Model: Bec Fordyce

Model: Bec Fordyce

Unless some sort of interesting VR or schematics come around, your best bet is to actually start adding your own lights and creative vision to the scene. This makes the work uniquely yours, and separates “photographers” from “Photographers.” What will remain is that lots of people still may not exercise the muscles that let us see light and therefore create a scene accordingly.

And just think: all of this stems from a camera phone, capturing way too many moments, not being emotionally connected to them anymore, and changing the way that people feel about images.

The future is scary, huh?