A 64MP camera with AI filters, a 128MP sensor with 10X zoom or a pop-up one — all intelligent features to turn you into an amateur lensman. Smartphone photography was never this high-tech for capturing sunsets, clouds in the monsoon or walking in the woods.
Have smartphones with multi-sensors actually created those wow moments or have they actually killed the joy of capturing images and then enjoying those with family or friends in the free time sans the fear of missing out (FOMO)?
Ask yourself: How many photos that you clicked in the past couple of years are dumped on Cloud, Instagram, in your laptop folders or on the hard disks, never to revisit as you are always clicking one with filters at work?
The fun is long dead and smartphones have turned the art of photography into a monotonous, filter-rich exercise that is taking us nowhere.
The smartphone cameras are getting smarter, full of specs, yet the pure joy is no more there as the latest photo you clicked (or worked upon) dies in less than a few seconds.
According to Kamna Chhibber, Head of Department, Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at the Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurugram, the simplicity of life and the essence of objects and experiences can be completely overshadowed when we add things like filters in photography.
“These add an element of perfection and a need to get the best shot instead of focusing on the experience. This creates and increases a sense of competitiveness and comparisons instead of focusing on the joy of the experience of clicking a photograph and capturing a moment,” Chhibber told IANS.
Nearly 50 crore people in India are using smartphones, capturing billions of photos in a month.
According to estimates by Mylio, a photo organizing and management application and Keypoint Intelligence, people would click over 1.4 trillion photos in 2020 globally.
For example, if you took one photo every second, it would take you over 45,544 years to snap the number of photos humans will take in 2020.
According to experts, with the ease of taking photographs having increased and the process not necessitating the development of the photographs, people focus on the quantity and not the quality of what is being captured.
It is not about keeping these for memories which you actually look back at because no one has the time or the capacity to go through such an enormous number of pictures.
“As a result the experience often gets limited to the moment and does not become extended into later points in our lives because it is difficult to go back to and find what it was that one had captured previously. Given the sheer number of pictures that individuals’ click, Often they don’t recollect what they even have in their collections,” Chhibber said.
The total number of photos stored is expected to grow from 7.4 trillion in 2020 to 9.3 trillion in 2022 globally.
According to Dr. Shruti, Consultant, Psychiatry at Narayana Hospital in Gurugram, the basic joy of photography was to treasure memories and whereas, photography itself is an entire different aesthetic profession.
“Since social media has helped people gain confidence and some of them are no more camera shy, but, at the same time, a hidden pressure of looking presentable all the time, ‘approval from peer groups’ with filter-heavy camera phones have taken this photography joy to a different level,” Shruti said.
It is good to be expressive and experimental with photography and changing our presence, but youngsters should understand that they should not get busy with “capturing the moment” instead of “living the moment” and putting themselves under unnecessary pressure.
The concept of family photo albums was wonderful as it gave individuals and families the opportunity to sit together and reflect and reminisce about the moment when they clicked some photographs.
“They could transport themselves to those moments and have good interactions and experience the nostalgia of having been through those experiences which social media does not necessarily permit at a familial level,” Chhibber said.