I am not part of the “selfie” culture. I don’t spend entire minutes posing in front of the camera, trying to figure out the best angle. I also find it hard to understand the need to post a picture of oneself – always in the same postures and in the same room – on various social media websites on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, I do admit that my fingers are often in search of my smartphone, to capture diverse moments or scenes in my everyday life. Recently, my mania of snapping quick photos is increasing and it is leading to something bigger and better than simple pictures taken with a phone.
I think that I have always enjoyed taking photos when I’m out strolling. Even though it made me feel awkward to stand there, holding my camera (a Packard Bell at the time), with people walking alongside and looking on. It probably all started when I made my first international friends. Naturally they would request pictures of my country, Malta, and I would abide – reluctantly at first, but eventually, it became a habit.
Nowadays, my methods and reasons behind my photos have changed. The camera gave way to a smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy S4 which has quite a good-quality camera. The photos being taken are now not only just sceneries of the Maltese environment but of other things on a smaller scale; for example, a book, a delicious lunch or a funny road sign. The best photos then go on Instagram, adding filters if needed (but some photos come out so beautifully coloured that they don’t require any filter) as well as a small description.
The reason that motivates me to take pictures and post them is mainly a simple one: memory. Photographs are usually a means of keeping the memory of the captured moment alive and to return to it from time to time to relive it. To be honest, I find my ability to visually remember certain scenes of my life to be quite poor, therefore I take photos and post them in order to remember some of my good (or also not-so-good) experiences. That is why I like to call my Instagram profile my “Insta-diary”.
My boyfriend is witnessing this mania of taking photos (sometimes he gets exasperated too!) and he appreciated some photos that I took while in Sweden with him. So he proposed that we buy a professional camera and learn how to use it. He convinced me and it has arrived this week: a Canon EOS 550D.
I know what you’re thinking now: “Ah… she takes a few photos, adds a filter, puts them online, gets a couple of likes and thinks she’s a photographer.” No, not at all! Taking simple photos does not make you a photographer. To become one, first there has to be the passion, then the knowledge. While I certainly lack the second one, when it comes to passion, I can’t say that mine is very big. I have a purpose for taking pictures and that’s it. However, I am in the process of discovering myself, what I like and what I can accomplish. I am in love with the notions of creativity and visual art. I have no clue on where to start from but I will make it. I will take up online photography lessons, thus adopting a new hobby that might lead to something greater.
To conclude, I am posting this link which I found on the Facebook page Brain Pickings related to this subject. It is very interesting as it shows the history of photography. It’s a book that I might want to have in the future! And I’m sure that – whether we like it or not – selfies and Instagram would feature in such a book if it had to be revised. They might not be artistic but they are undeniably part of the photographic world now.