The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Power: Use photography to capture memories, not self-advertise

Over fall break I left the Marquette bubble and headed into the woods. A few friends and I went on an adventurous hiking trip up and down the Sawtooth Mountain Range in northern Minnesota. I have a whole filmstrip of memorable moments from the trip and societal standards suggest I should upload them onto Facebook under an album with a witty title I have yet to think of.

On Facebook, it’s easy for my friends to view these pictures. We don’t have to be in the same place at once to reminisce. They can skim through them on their own and leave comments as they please.

Facebook is convenient for sharing pictures and keeping memories alive. However, it’s not what many Facebook pictures seem to be intended for.

We consider our profile as part of our identities and use pictures to portray ourselves to others. You can distort the colors, crop other people out or fundamentally change the picture in another manner so it looks a certain way.

People can be who they want to be through their photos. If they want to be seen as crazy, they’ll stick their tongue out and jump in the air. If they are self-conscious, they’ll pose in a way that hides their extra weight. If they are shy, they’ll turn their faces away from the camera lens. Pictures become a part of our social status when displayed over social networking sites.

After years of devotion to my own online profile, Facebook has unfortunately warped the way I think about pictures. As I shoot pictures of my friends or myself, I subconsciously think, “Ooh, that would make an awesome profile pic!” or “People would definitely comment on this picture.”

I am not the only one who does this. The self-advertising and self-conscious aspect of Facebook has tainted the use of photography for many people.

Instead of taking a picture for the purpose of making it a profile picture or part of an artsy Facebook album, we should be thinking, “This angle captures the moment perfectly,” or “This photo tells a good story.”

Take pictures for the purpose of memory keeping, not for Facebook.

There was a moment in my fall break trip in which I stood on the edge of a high ridge with two friends sitting next to me. The two were bundled in hats and mittens, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We looked out into the winter-stricken valley below me.

The leafless trees grew thick and covered every inch of land where there wasn’t a jutting rock face. Off in the distance, the vast and wild waters of Lake Superior roared in the wind.

I took out my camera out to preserve this raw moment and snapped a picture of my friends with the valley and lake behind them.

In some ways, I don’t want to upload the pictures of my hiking trip because I will think of them in relation to my social identity. For example, “Do I look good in this one?”

I want to look at my pictures and feel the freedom of standing high above a valley on a ridge. I want to remember the trip for what it was, and not worry about how each picture affects my Facebook identity.

Facebook users need to stop depending on pictures as a means of self-confidence or advertisement. Using photography this way takes away from its original purpose: to capture a moments and preserve them.

Photographers should use photo websites like Flickr to store their photos, and share them with friends and family.

You could also enlarge the photos and hang them on your bedroom wall, or use them to make a scrapbook album.

Most of all, be yourself on camera. Portray your experiences as they are, because that is what you will want to remember years down the road.

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