The power of the millennial photograph

Last week, I was walking out of Walmart and saw a beautiful sunset. Arms full of grocery bags, I somehow managed to get my phone out of my pocket and take a picture for my Snapchat. After opting not to use a filter, I posted the photo to my story, put my groceries in my car, and left for home.

After getting home, I opened my Snapchat and saw story after story of various pictures of the same exact sunset. Different captions, filters, and angles were used, but one constant remained: the sunset.

I put down my phone and began to wonder about the power of the photograph in the digital era.

Thanks to phones, taking a photo is easier than ever. Because of it, we live in a time where almost everything is pictured. Pictures are taken at parties, in class, and even in the bathroom.

Don’t believe how many photos are taken daily? According to DMR Statistics, about 2.5 billion photos are sent via Snapchat daily. Yes, daily! That’s a lot of photos taken throughout the year!
With so many photos being taken, the power of the picture is at odds.

Some may insist that the photo is stronger than ever, and increasing the number of photos increases photo literacy in society. For example, photos are a great way to convey social news events, such as photos taken at rallies, protests, conventions, etc. You don’t need to be there to get the feeling of what the scene looked like, and the photos shown are not filtered through mainstream media.

However, others may argue that the photograph may become less meaningful, with the most powerful images being washed away in the sea of daily photos. Because of the commonality of photos, seeing great pictures is becoming a normal thing, and the impact of photography may be diminishing. Ads, social media, and almost everything in between is filled with full-color photos, and this may lead us to see the world of words and opinions as nothing more than in black and white.

While both arguments have legitimate points, whether positive or negative, the photograph is something that continues to inspire and promote people to take action in society.

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