CLICK, CLICK, FILTER, SMOOTH, POST, 'LIKE', SHARE
Everyone has a phone ! The amount of photos that are taken on a daily basis must be millions. In fact it's billions, no wait, trillions. People will take 1.2 trillion digital photos this year. According to estimate from InfoTrends, we will take a hundred billion more photos in 2017 than we did in 2016.
We live our life through social media, whether it's Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram. We are a nation of self loving, self promoting, selfie taking lovies. The common denominater to all these social media forums are Photos - the PR tool to creating the perfect social image.
As one of my friends admitted to me 'it may come as a shock to some who read my Facebook updates, but my family isn't really perfect'. The irony being we all knew that but still sometimes take the Facebook posts at face value. So why do we do it? The world of Facebook isn't real. Many of us are only sharing a highly edited view of our real selves and we are passing it off as who we really are or maybe who we wish we were or want to be. Yes, we share a funny photo from our school days, but it will be the best of the bunch - but curse the school friend that shares the one of you looking how you really looked back in the day.
Photos used to be a anticipated treat. Often only taken on special occasions such as holidays. You eagerly rushed to Boots with 6 rolls of ISO 100 film and willingly paid the over priced 2 day print service. The excitement was soon thwarted when flicking through the pack you realised they were all over exposed and rather tragic. The anticipation was always better than the reality. Yet some how we knew no different and the holiday memories where just more important in your head than they were in the photos.
These days we have high expectations of all our photos to be amazing. We take the photo, we look, we delete and take again. We filter, we smooth, we crop and what's left is not the real us. The need to post them to social media to create the image of 'a wonderful life' puts pressure on us to make each and every one a show piece picture. The 'professional photo' shot is always in our reach. Rarely do you see photos on Facebook of crying children, moody husbands and cold bleak bank holiday trip's out. We want our friends 'to like' the photo of our adventurous, exercise loving family, chasing each other up a hill on a cold winter's morning. The perfect family selfie, mockingly staring up at those of us still in bed. Ironically, if the camera could speak we would no doubt hear the discontented chorus of moans from the children. You know in your heart of hearts they are only smiling because their mum has given them Haribos. Yet for all intent and Facebook purposes the photo shouts "look at us, we the family you want to be".
One has to question whether it is in our children's interests to post 'our happy moments' all over social media and by doing so imprinting their digital footprint. If you aren't 'sharenting' as it is now dubbed you are probably in the minority. A new study says that by the time the average child is five, its parents have posted 1,500 image of him or her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. Perhaps some hint as to how these children will feel about this some time in their future comes from an 18 year old Austrian girl who is suing her parents to force them to remove all her childhood pictures from Facebook. "They know no shame and no limits ...they didn't care if I was sitting on the toilet or lying naked in the cot, every moment was photographed and made public." The NSPCC children's charity has urged parents to think twice about posting photographs of their children on social media. "For very young children, think about whether they would be happy for you to post or if it will embarrass them. If you aren't sure, it's best not to post" a spokesman told the BBC.
Without stating the obvious stop and breath... take the photos that capture the emotion, the raw emotion not the forced emotion. We can all spot a false smile and a begrudging frown. By all means enjoy social media. Share a photo, comment on a status and laugh at the memes. Just don't be jealous at someone's "perfect life." Don't assume that a person is boasting just because they post 'heavenly' photos of their Winter sun getaway. More importantly don't think you know someone until you can have a real conversation. It takes more than a passing glance at a webpage to truly understand the people whose photos you like. Keep it real or put your camera away.
* keeping it real - the top photo is of my children who as you can tell 'loved' me taking their photo on holiday. Keeping it real was them saying "MUM PUT YOUR CAMERA AWAY".
These days photographers have to expand their business as much through Social Media as word of mouth. Having recently moved counties I am trying to get tongues wagging in Shropshire and get social media savvy in order for my business to grow. I am venturing into pastures new with starting a blog, an attempt to get google crawlers latched onto my website so Shropshire folk can see I'm here! I don't claim to be the next Caitlin Moran so bear with me and take it for what is - a few words of wisdom about life as a photographer. Life is short, you have to love what you do and I hope these few blogs portray that if nothing else. I don't want to dominate the world, merely to get a photo in every frame in Shropshire.