Digital Photography – Forgettable Memories

4 Sep 2015

With technological advances, we can now take better quality photos with increasing convenience using our mobile phones. Digital photography with its clear advantages has quickly “replaced” traditional film photography.

On the surface, it appears that digital photography has important benefits over film photography. However, what lies beneath the surface may be worth pondering. Reflecting on the implications of digital photography through my personal experiences has been insightful.

Cheaper. Digital photography allows us to freely take photos with little consideration of the cost required for processing films. The only constraint is probably the memory capacity.

>> Result: Take more photos, but focus less on experiences.

Instant Feedback. Gone were the days when we only get to see the pictures after the film had been processed. Today, we can assess the quality of our photos instantly and take again and again.

>> Result: Invest less effort in photography and end up with more poor quality pictures in storage (ironically).

Easy Storage & Sharing: In the past, photos were kept in photo albums and shared in hardcopy format. Digital photos are easily stored in electronic format and shared through social media apps.

>> Result: Keep and share more photos, but spend less time to look at stored pictures.

The key message being Photos Are NOT…

Experiences. Have we been too preoccupied with taking photos rather than focusing on our experiences? Does taking pictures of cuisines and sharing them on social media platforms enhance the fragrance and taste of the foods? Does busy snapping pictures in an art gallery help us appreciate the master pieces more? Does random snapping of pictures in the streets capture the feel of a place?

Memories. How often do we look at the tons of photos taken during a trip? And when we do, most of the pictures might not be particularly memorable? What we remembered were probably moments when a chord in our heart was struck (not whether a picture was captured). For example, I remember a conversation with a doctor from Syria. I was touched when she shared that they (her family) chose to remain and contribute to the wellbeing of Syria despite the difficult situations at home. Also remember an art museum gallery attendant who was a refugee who fled Vietnam years ago. There was a sense of melancholy when he shared that he had never returned to Vietnam since then. I could not bring myself to ask whether his loved ones were with him (or still in Vietnam).

Technological advances have produced increasingly richer colours and more vivid images… But do they also contribute to richer experiences and more vivid memories… Perhaps we can free digital photography at times, so that we are free to experience the various moments in life…

Warmest Regards, SLC

P.S. This reflection came about as I am currently sorting out my digital photography clutter. Will share my experiences when I eventually get through the electronic images. Till then, I welcome any tips from you 🙂 Thank You!!

QUICK SLC UPDATE: 6 Steps to Overcoming Digital Photography Clutter


3 thoughts on “Digital Photography – Forgettable Memories

  1. Don’t overlook one of the biggest problems with all things ‘digital’, that of volatile storage and the high risk of total loss, overcome only by the continual financial outlay and time involved in the purchase and transfer to new storage media every few years; when that process stops then your photos may only last for an unpredictable 5-10 years, compared to a more predictable 50-100 years for the analogue version, with no sudden unpredictable or catastrophic loss being experienced with the latter!

    Just think of digital as here today, gone tomorrow; unless you have prepared and planned for its lifetime upkeep.

    A combination of digital and analogue photography is best, by selecting those better shots and printing them off using archival quality media, so ‘selectivity’ and the use of a physical print is the key to its longevity.

    Liked by 1 person

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