Friday, April 7, 2017

Unlimited Pictures (But Are They Any Good?)

These days everybody has a camera in their pocket. If you want to take a picture of something, you pull out your phone, and take anywhere from one to forty-seven photos, then slide your phone back into your pocket. You then look at the pictures, decide which one or two you like the best, and delete all of the rest.

(Ha ha! Just kidding. You keep all of those pictures on your phone until the day you have a really important picture you want to take, but you can't take a picture because your phone is full of all those pictures you never got around to deleting.)

Back in the day, we didn't take as many pictures. Why? Because we were limited by the number of photos available on a roll of film. Usually a roll of film or a disposable camera (remember them?) would hold 24 pictures. Because of the scarcity of available pictures, we were much more selective as to what we would take pictures of. (Not nearly so many selfies, or photos of food.)

The disposable camera has gone the way of the record album.
That's not to say there weren't any bad pictures taken back then, just not so darn many of them!

Today, we can take as many pictures as our phones will store. That's hundreds of pictures, or thousands of pictures, or maybe even hundreds of thousands of pictures. As a result, we are not very discerning about what we take pictures of. If it's a useless picture, we'll just ignore it. But we'll still carry it around on our phone for months, and we'll still download it onto our computers.

The other day I was at the grocery store and my wife wanted me to pick up some popcorn for her. (She's a school teacher and needed it for some lesson she was going to teach.) She wasn't sure how big the bags of popcorn were, so she wasn't sure how many she wanted. So, I took a picture of the popcorn, texted it to her, and asked her how many bags she wanted. (Two.)

That's Korn spelled with a "K" so you know it's gotta be good!
So, now I have a picture of a bag of popcorn on my phone. And, that same picture has been downloaded to my computer. Why did I take this picture? Because I can take a pretty much unlimited amount of pictures. Why do I still have this picture? Because I'm too lazy and/or indifferent to delete it.

As a result, I've got a lot of pictures like this one taking up space on my phone and computer:
Aside from the blurriness, I also very much like the random socked feet on the left.
But, that picture is a piece of art compared to some of the others, like this one:
The Doorway to Your Soul.
Or this one:
'Ears to you!
The thing is, pictures like these will never be deleted. Oh, we'll say things like, "One of these days I'm going to go through all of my pictures and organize them," but it won't ever happen. These pictures will stand the test of time. They'll forever be a monument to how terrible we are at photography and how wasteful we are with the storage space we have on our phones and computers.

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