Why I No Longer Care for Digital Photography, and Will Shortly Delete My Instagram Again
Not too long ago, I decided that it was pretty ridiculous that people held so tenaciously to their love of celluloid film photography when digital photography had reached some very impressive levels of quality. A train of thought ran through my brain earlier, however, that made me realize a number of things that justify the value of anything in the hearts of us people. We grew up loving pictures of ourselves, and they were special because resources were spent to capture an image of us and subsequently help us remember that time. They said "Mom loved me, so she used her expensive film and paid to have it developed so she could see this special moment again," or whatever. They were rare. If you kept a photo, it was because it gave you an emotional reaction. If you threw a photo away, it was therapeutic. A picture was worth a thousand words.
Now, everyone has cameras and computers and unlimited space to save pictures of what-the-fuck-ever. Nobody would dream of taking a picture of their spaghetti and Ragu, then sharing it with everyone they know. If someone did, it would be for a damn good reason. People just take pictures because it's what you do. Hell, some people go out to do things just to share some pictures. It's all backwards! Many times, I see a picture someone posted and I build a (probably dramatically false) story behind the picture. Granted, this can sometimes be very entertaining, but I'm not the only person who has come to suspect some pretty inaccurate things about people largely because I still consider the image to hold more meaning than it is supposed to.
There's also the devaluing of what you're trying to capture in the first place. I have been to concerts and spent lots of time stressing out and running around trying to frame up the right shots or record an entire concert, only to realize I didn't pay attention to my favorite song. With film, you took a shot or two and hoped for the best and enjoyed your time. The following week, you'd get your pictures back, and have at least one exciting moment when a good picture brought you right back.
My Instagram account is full of sixth attempts. It is an open door into everybody else's edited best side during down time at the bar or whatever. It's where everybody shares a picture of what they're listening to, in hopes of reminding other people that they have the same interests. The shit is no longer personal when it's there for everybody. I rarely get any joy from seeing someone repost someone else's picture, and I'm sure it does no one any good when I do it myself.
I confess that I only use my Instagram account to advertise that I am enjoyable and to remind whatever girl, at whatever time, that I exist. My Twitter, and possibly every other social network account I have, will probably follow suit. There was a time that I would make that declaration hoping for a reaction, but now I am hoping that it will make sense to other people who will step away from the whole "share myself with the world" thing, and get back to the "call the person you want to meet up with" thing. It infuriates me to try to gain a feeling of validity from how many whomever's clicked "like" on my post.
I know I overthink things, or at least that people tell me I overthink things. I express my feelings about things more often, openly and honestly than most people do, and it makes me look weird or whatever, but I think there's a part of everyone that feels a little bummed when She liked His picture, but not mine, or She posted the pic with Him, but not the one with me. Well, if you've ever had that feeling, it can be entirely valid, entirely invalid, or anywhere in between. The picture is no longer worth the words. The story isn't really being told. Almost every picture has been taken several times and doctored for presentability. In the end, I personally feel that I can't place any value in what I see, and there's no reason anyone should value anything I share, so the whole thing entirely lacks value. The reason I am sharing my assessment is that I hope some people will take some valuable pictures, and show them to me because I am special to them.