Influence Of Photography On Reality Essay
The Eastman Company were the manufacturers of the Kodak which was “the first built-in roll-film box camera, ushering in the era of modern photography. This camera is lighter and easier to use than its predecessors, helping to make the art of photography more readily available to the masses. The company’s slogan is, ‘You press the button, we do the rest’” (Geographic). This allowed the citizen body with enough means at their disposal to create their own photographs.
The camera has slowly evolved from film to digital due to significant technological advancements. Because of these technological advances, it is cheaper to take and process images and now camera ownership is available to everyone. An individual can now take a picture and post it on the internet faster than the amount of time it took to load the film into the camera. Because prices have drastically been reduced and the ease of the process, a Samsung Analysis in 2011 states that “approximately 2.5 Billion people globally owned a digital camera” (Feroze). Although Kodak is still on the market today, two of the most popular brands of camera are now Nikon and Canon (Fisher). They are the top two brands and are technologically advanced having both strengths and weaknesses in comparison to each other. They have replaced Kodak as the cameras of choice among professional photographers.
People have been moving from film to digital not only because the process is easier and faster, but also because they are able to experiment more. With film, you only have one chance to get the image just how you want it. There were some painstaking processes in the darkroom to alter the image the way the photographer wished but often they would have to start the entire process over. A digital camera allows the user to take a picture and look at it immediately. This allows the retake of images simultaneously with the event. In addition, instead of creating images in the darkroom, Photoshop is easily accessible and people are able to experiment with their pictures all they want without the fear of having to start from scratch after making one mistake.
Now that photography has become more accessible, there remains the question of reality. What is real, and what is not. Do people take pictures of what really happens in their life? Or, do they portray only the life they wish to live? It has been said that “digital photography gives you the ability to decide what you want to print and the freedom to manipulate images, unlike going to traditional photo print shops where you might just get four decent images back” (Bagri). Pictures are edited according to our desires. The positive effect of this is that people are able to creatively modify the images in varied ways according to a desired outcome. The negative side to this is that because some images can become so changed, it’s hard to tell what is real and what is fake. Some end up so modified that it causes the argument of whether or not the image should be considered a photo, or considered art.
As the camera progressed it has been added to phones and tablets. This advancement has revolutionized photography in society and “created” new ways of seeing everything around us. One example of this has appeared recently in the news. President Barack Obama was caught taking what is known as a “selfie” with a phone along with the Danish and British Prime Ministers. Usually there would be no concern about this, but the fact that it was taken during Nelson Mandela’s funeral caused many disapproving comments on the matter (News). Though the photographer pointed out that all was not how it seemed. In the image the three taking the picture seem to be enjoying themselves with Michelle Obama staring disapprovingly. But in reality, she was laughing and joking with the others a few seconds before according to the photographer (Mirkinson). This shows that photos do not always show what is happening or the entire context. Often, or at leas sometimes, pictures can create a false reality.
The greatest outcome of the advancements in cameras today is the relation created between photography and social networking. Sites such as Facebook and Instagram have influenced the way we use cameras today. According to one statistic, Facebook users upload an average of 350 million photos each day. When you break that down into smaller increments that is 14.58 million photo uploads each hour, 243,00 each minute, or 4,000 uploads each second (Wagner). People post constantly creating an internet reality for themselves, their families, their friends, and their beliefs.
With 700 million people with profiles on social networking sites there has been a debate started on the reality that is portrayed. On one side there is the “idealized virtual-identity hypothesis” which suggests that online networking provides adults tools to “construct personal, social and gender identities” (Manago 454). Another group argues that these sites are consistent with an “extended real-life hypothesis” of an actual personality impression (Back, 373).
“The world of today has become nearly completely digital” (Bagri). This is a fact of life. Understanding how photography affects each of us is important. We must be aware and at least question the realities placed before us. Further examination into the creation of individual realities is necessary to understand the world around us and within us.