Too digital too quickly?

It’s often said that with the advent of our phones also becoming our cameras, combined with the computing power of a filter, everyone is now a photographer.

There’s much to be said for this sentiment, and as a professional photographer, I agree with it. Mostly.

If we are all honest with ourselves, we know photography is much, much more than simply holding up a camera phone and snapping a picture. Composition, use of light, technical knowledge, creativity and post-production, not to mention styling, make up, hair, and half a dozen other factors mean that we aren’t really being photographers when we use our camera phones – all we’re really doing is leaning heavily on the tech to do what a professional human photographer does without.

On the flip side, I am a strong advocate for camera phone photography for day-to-day use – as an example, my recent set of Norfolk panoramic prints were all done on a phone. The truism that the best camera is always the one you’ve got there with you remains extant.

However, this is all a rabbit hole (albeit an interesting one and worthy of further exploration), but not one I want to fall down today.

Instead, I want to have a think about what the consequences of taking all these digital photographs actually mean in practical terms.

Primarily, of course, it’s perfectly apparent to all of us that the transition to, and development of, digital photography has heralded a massive increase in the number of photographs we all take; why take just one photo when it’s completely free and painless to take a dozen to ensure the right angle/light? As a result, the simple task of keeping our own photos even remotely organised has now become a task that most of us simply ignore, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are a couple of second-order effects of this problem.

The first is that rather than deleting our rubbish photos, we would rather rely on the ever increasing capacity of our phones to just store them; phone clogged up with too many photos? No dramas, I’m due an upgrade in a few months and I’ll get more Gigs to offset the fact that I’m not pruning my photos in the slightest…

I think you’ll agree that this probably isn’t a long term solution to the problem. Again, over the next couple of months, I’ll suggest a few solutions as to how you can manage this archiving issue, but I’ll save that for another blog post for now.

The other second order effect of having too many photos on your phone is that so very few of them now get used meaningfully, and even fewer get used to any everlasting effect.

And what do I mean by that? Everlasting effect? Well, it seems that these days our social media feeds are the only reason we take photos at all, and yes, whilst social media channels are important to connect family, friends, businesses and customers, those feeds are really very ephemeral – two days after posting and your post is now so far down everyone’s feeds, they might as well not exist. And where they do exist, why do they exist? For historical record? Again, a lot more here to be explored in another blog post.

What is the purpose of photography? Hand holding camera phone above crowd to photograph proceedings.
Taking photos all the time, of everything, results in a massive increase of personal photographs… To what end?

So, with that in mind, I think the saddest effect of having gone too digital too quickly is that the majority of our photographs never get to see the world, or, rather, the world never gets to see them. The tendency now is not to blow up photos and get them printed out. They aren’t framed and put on the mantlepiece or bookshelf, and they certainly aren’t added to photograph albums to be handed from one generation to the next.

Now, it is academic whether this effect is because we have a lack of time, money, expertise or inclination to do so – the truth is that most of our images are now languishing on a hard drive or a phone, and are simply gathering digital dust – we all went too digital too quickly to keep up with the developments.

And so, the question remains extant, what’s the point in keeping them? Will we really get round to sorting them out? I would contend probably not…

And this is where we at Ansel & Fox step in… Our mission is to bring images back to life, and encourage you to discard the images you don’t want or use. We are here to help you look after and display the best of your photographs, old or new, holiday or party, grandparent or baby. We work with you to make sure you not only organise, archive and curate all your images, but that you also get the most from the ones you choose, both digitally and/or in hard copy

Bring us your images however is easiest – on a hard drive or phone, in a box, as series of negatives, or even still on an old roll of film – and we will digitise, catalogue, organise and curate them as part of your collection to make them more manageable for you in the future.

And once that’s done, the fun starts… We will design you an album, or a collage, or a book, or maybe just get a few framed. Whatever you want, we’ll help you get it done and delivered to you.

We are proud that Ansel & Fox is the marque of luxury & bespoke photograph curation. Our goal is to breathe life back into your old photos and film in whatever format they come, giving you and your children immense pleasure and satisfaction. Our services and products are personal, luxury, discreet, secure and first-class and we are here to try help you avoid the bear traps of going too digital too quickly.

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