They say that millennials are too attached to their phones. They say that they do not live in the moment, they’d rather watch the world pass them by through the screens of their cell phones and camera than enjoy it for what it is. Concerts and travel are two scenarios in which the above statements most frequently take place; as people see others take out their phones or hold cameras to their faces to capture the moment they chastise, claiming that nature and music and art are better experienced through your own two eyes rather than a cell phone camera.
But that’s not giving photography the proper consideration as a form of both art and memory keeping.
Think of the first concert you ever attended. It was probably a good while ago, maybe before cell phones or even cameras were particularly common. How much of the concert do you remember? How close to the stage were you? What was the first song that was played? What were you wearing? If you’re anywhere close to my age, chances are most of those memories are long gone–you might not even remember who it was that you first saw.
Photography changes this. Photography allows us to capture these memories and look back on them fondly. Even a low-quality cell-phone shot of a concert stage can trigger huge bursts of nostalgia, allowing memories of that evening to come rushing back full-force and bringing a smile to our faces.
The same can be said for those who concentrate on taking photos when they travel. Whether you’re in a new country, exploring your own, or even spending time in your own town, sightseeing and experiencing the culture and nature’s art that exists around you is a primal experience. We are drawn to trying to take in everything nature has to offer both around us and around the world. Seeing a sunset across a mountain or in a valley; hearing the waves crash in an ocean around you as they climb the beach and reach your ankles, letting your toes dig deeper into the sand; or watching as clouds set in on the mountain town you call home, passing by windows and buildings you yourself have been in; all are viscerally enjoyable experiences. And while these should be sought after and experienced, they should also be remembered. Taking a short video or snapping a few photos of what’s going on in the world around you isn’t being “too reliant on technology,” it’s allowing technology and photography to have its rightful place as a form of art.
The next time you see someone taking photos on their cell phone, don’t chastise them for being too connected or too concerned with their online lives. Appreciate it for what it is–someone doing the best to capture this exact moment in time and allowing it to stay with them for the rest of their lives.