Photography remains to be an integral part of our artistic lives. You see it everywhere; in 2011, 6 billion photos were uploaded on Flickr, according to the Los Angeles Times. In the same year, Instagram – the popular iPhone application that allows users to digitally remake their photos – had 150 million uploaded photos in the first nine months since its launching. You hear everywhere – “A picture is worth a thousand words” – and in fact, most of the powerful social advocacy comes in the form of a photograph. Major publications such as the New York Times mark the end of every year with the nostalgic, but powerful The Year in Pictures.
Perhaps a more striking example of the power of pictures is the article about U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller. The Los Angeles Times released a two-part story that made Miller the emblem of the U.S. war in Iraq. It came with a haunting picture – Miller smoking a cigarette with a gaze that is difficult to relate in words – that dubbed him “Marlboro Marine.” What is even more telling about the power of the photo is that a photographer wrote the article. Luis Sinco, a Times Staff Photographer, told stories about the war in Iraq and then later on, about Miller after his time in the war. Sinco did so by taking pictures, “I raised my camera and snapped a few shots” he said in the article. He also made a video using pictures from the war with Miller relating his experience. In a sense, the photo said much more than any print article by itself could do.
Photojournalism has made milestones in the media. Lens, a photography, video and visual blog by the New York Times, has a collection of images that compliment and reflect current events; from pictures of spring training – colorful and playful images of national baseball players and fans – to somber photos of death and disaster. Professional photography has limitless possibilities, but you do not need an ultra-expensive camera to capture special moments in your life.
In an article by the New York Times, S. Shyam Sundar – the co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University – said “With the introduction of smartphones with improved cameras, coupled with the rise of services like Facebook and Twitter, people are more accustomed to constantly documenting moments and sharing throughout the day.”
In fact, these special moments are not necessarily limited to weddings and birthdays, but simple occurrences like the walk home from school or coffee bubbles forming a smiley face.
Feature Photo By Roland Darby