I have been thinking a lot about the role social media and just screens and scrolling, has in our daily lives. There is a balance of making the most of the amazing connectivity and opportunities it creates and the flip side, of our time being stolen, and becoming self obsessed, and recording the moment rather than just enjoying it for what it is.
Also as an artist and designer obsessed with the everyday, documenting the mundane. For example a few years ago when instagram had only just emerged, I was doing a art project on our relationship with food, and this involved keeping a visual food diary. So everything I ate, I photographed. I was asked more than once whether it was for instagram, and this annoyed me, I was like no its an art project, not me obsessively updating the world. I was already interested in documenting my world, before it became ‘cool’ and common place.
Like there was once a time when I was the only one with a camera on me everywhere. I had a couple of other strange art human friends, so maybe in a group of 20, 3 or 4 of us had a camera. So everyone would then ask you to upload them, or send them by email. It also meant there were hardly any photos of me. Fast forward to today, and most people have a camera on them at all times. Somehow this then gives you the ability to be a photographer. I have nothing against people embracing the art human way of life, and being more creative. But the people who are yet to understand that phone cameras are super grainy in low light, but still insist on filling my feeds with these photos, like really can you not see the photo is grainy and the white balance has gone weird. Or do you just not appreciate or care about these things? But still feel you can take your own photos, and feel you are a photographer. Because if I was a photographer by profession this would drive me mad. But the role and place of photographer has forever been shifting and challenged.
But how do I draw the line, between me taking a photo out of curiosity and creativity, and me taking a photo because I’m going to upload it, and long for the little dopamine hits of a ‘like’ or ‘follow’. Because even if the photo was taken out of pure curiosity and creativity, then part of art is sharing it, and considering the viewers response.
Therefore you end up going round in circles. The line fading and blurring.
Originally published at www.ashleydrew.co.uk.