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Are Digital Photographs Too Plentiful to be Meaningful?

Discovering significance in a flood of images

Photos are a common way that we capture memorable moments. There’s no limit to this as camera rolls and memory cards can hold vast amounts and anyone can capture anything they please within them, but is it truly meaningful to a certain extent? We as humans in a technologically advanced world, tend to document everything we can whether it’s through our electronic devices, cameras, or at this point in time, smart glasses.

I used this image to emphasize my point of photos being able to bring on the feeling of nostalgia.
An older photo of my grandmother’s garden that she no longer has but I grew up loving and even playing in, it gives me the feeling of nostalgia whenever I look at it. (Viviana Daniele)

Of course, generally, throughout our days, we make memories that we’d like to hold to reflect on, even in some cases share with others who may not have been there and would enjoy it as much as you did. Reflecting on a good memory can bring on the feeling of nostalgia or even resurface the feelings you felt at that moment. 


I believe that all photographs hold a different meaning and even a story, some being more distinct than others. Experiencing different events throughout a lifetime, such as concerts or vacations is something I want to be able to capture and remember more vividly. In my eyes, practically everyone has some type of need for photographic documentation; it’s valuable in some way to every human being.

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I used this photo to emphasize my overall point of capturing imagines to reflect on a memorable moment in my life.
A photo I captured at a Jonas Brothers concert in 2018 (Viviana Daniele).

In some cases though, people can go overboard and end up like me with over 20,000 photos on their phones, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the concept or meaning of it is ruined. Anyone can have a different perspective on it. Who knows? Maybe all of those 20,000+ photos mean something completely different and meaningful. Sometimes, we take photos with all different qualities including gestures, lighting, and angles. The quantity of these photos can end up more than we anticipate upon taking them. Unknowingly lying to ourselves after taking many photos at once saying we will eventually go back and delete the remaining ones. Typically in fear that we delete the “one” but don’t delete any at all and get left with duplicates. 


Photographic film is still somewhat present nowadays. Recently, juniors and seniors have been using disposable cameras to document their prom experiences. They’ve begun to do this finding that the quality of images from a digital camera gives a more retro look to the event, making it seemingly older than it truly is giving a more nostalgic feel when revisiting the image. 


There is a specific time and place for both digital and disposable photographs, such as special events versus just an average day. If we found ourselves with only a certain limit to taking photos, I feel that we would be more purposeful with our photos. It would be up to us to determine the “perfect moment” to capture an image. We wouldn’t be going around taking photos of just anything we please but instead, what will mean the most to us. 


We are confronted with new memories and lessons every day, film can make photos have their own repurposed meanings within. 

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