Photos & Memory: Phone camera hinders experience

Erika Vives

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It seems that a “new” and “better” cell phone comes out faster than the average consumer can keep up with. With each smartphone proving to be more high tech than its predecessor, the phone has made leaps and bounds in the modern age.

In addition to phone calls, texts, and the use of social media applications, many people use their device to take photos to remember even the littlest moment. Of course there are huge advantages of having something able to document moments at nearly all times. However, there are also major downfalls to the documentation of memories on a cell phone. The satisfaction of taking a photo is instintatious. Prior to using cell phones to capture moments, people would have to wait for the surprise of developing film. There is something so much sweeter in waiting to see a moment after you shoot a roll of film and take it to the store only to have to wait additional days to see the final product.

In addition to the instant gratification that taking a photo with a cell phone provides, users can store photos they take in their digital gallery. This leaves no need to print the photos when they are always available at the touch of a fingertip. There are most certainly some advantages to this like the preservation of paper that is normally used to print photos or even the benefit of less clutter from hard copies. However, the memories that a given photo holds when it is left to the screen of a phone gets buried much faster in a sea of screenshots and gifs.

Capturing moments from a phone plays into a larger question as to whether or not taking photographs enhances our experiences or distracts us from them. This begs the idea that perhaps what we experience would be different if we were to take photos with traditional cameras. Various studies examine how we perceive the world both with and without a camera and many conclusions in the journal of Psychological Science claim that in some instances people who take photographs can recall more from any given experience.

As cell phones continue to hop off of the production line at record speed and consumers demand the latest and greatest features, creators will continue to provide. And who’s to say that in the foreseeable future it won’t be possible that individuals will be able to take photographs with their eyes just like an episode straight out of “Black Mirror”?

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