J J Pitt-Rashid
Life Through A Digital Lense KIRSTY UPHAM ON THE RISE OF DISPOSABLE PHOTOGRAPHY.
On my notice board is a photograph of five of my friends at the Hogmanay street party in Edinburgh. They’re dancing to a folk band, arm in arm, hair flying everywhere and faces screwed up with laughter. It looks like the kind of spontaneous photo we all strive after, capturing a moment of pure happiness – but where was I during that moment? Standing alone on the pavement with my camera, watching their faces, thinking how much we would all laugh at this tomorrow. The rise of the digital camera, and with it thousands of adverts ordering us to capture our memories, has created a generation unable to live for the moment: the moment something enjoyable starts to happen, we’re gripped by the sensation of impending loss, and the only way to combat the panic is to take out our camera and click, click, click.
MEMORIES, ALL OF A SUDDEN, NEED CONFIRMATION OF THEIR EXISTENCE, AND THE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPH HAS BECOME THAT CONFIRMATION. This moment happened!, it screams – it’s as if we need to
prove to ourselves and our friends that our memory took place, as if it isn’t valid until we’ve stamped it into cyberspace. How can you enjoy something, the digital camera whispers from our pocket, when you know it’s going to vanish in a moment? A digital photo is no more ‘real’ than a memory; but somehow, the memory alone is no longer enough. And at the end of the night, when we go home with an empty heart and a full memory card, what do we do with our hundreds of photographs of people screaming drunkenly into the camera? What can we do with them, but consign them to the dustbin of all contrived memories, and upload them to Facebook? For a brief, glorious period, we can relive those times: tagging, witty captions, outraged photo comments, and we bask in the comfortable reassurance that we pinned down that elusive butterfly of a moment before it could slip out of our grasp. But what are we reliving, apart from something we orchestrated to look good in retrospect? No longer content with the present, we spend the iconic moments of our lives already anticipating the looking back. In our fear of losing the moment we strangle it at birth, and seal it behind the glass lens of a camera, perfect and unsullied, before its time is up. V
VOLTE-FACE, VIVID LACKS VALOUR, VIVID IS VITAL, VIVID VICTIMISES, VIVID IS A VICUNA, VIVID IS VIVACIOUS, VIVID