Lisa Gye’s “Picture This” examines the ways in which camera phones enable new modes of personal photography. Camera phones, according to Gye, are extending the ways we capture, store and disseminate personal photographs and that chances how we understand who are are and our memories. She underlines the reasons why people take personal photographs- to construct personal and group memory, to create and maintain relationships, and self expression. In regards to group memory, our personal photographs bind us to social groups we are a part of and reinforces our connections to others. When we share memories, we maintain social relationships and Gye argues that personal photography “is primarily a medium of communication, (Gye 281). In sharing these photographs with others, the article describes the shift from physical photos to online photo sharing, and how pictures that were once hung up on the wall are now posted on virtual walls. Lastly, she defines photography as a means of self expression and self presentation. Gye depicts the impact of camera phones on the social uses of photography, such as the fact that we carry our phones around us wherever we go and as a result, we have an increased opportunity to take photos. Another impact is that the poor resolution of camera phones has, until recently, meant that significant life events are blurry (she wrote this in 2007). In taking photographs with our cell phone cameras, our photographs are more independent and reinforce the user’s individuality. Through photo sharing, camera phones have presented us with new ways to maintain our social relationships. She concludes by saying that there is no doubt that mobile camera phones are changing how we record memories and express ourselves.
Gye’s argument is relevant to the course as it connects to the concepts that we have discussed in class about how camera phones have changed the way people document their lives. In class, we watched a video in which videographers used only an iPhone camera in order to film a short film they were making. We also watched a trailer for a movie that had been solely recorded on a phone camera. With the increasing use of mobile phone cameras in our everyday lives, Gye’s article is relevant for us to understand how that increase is affecting our individuality and our society at large. The relevance in my own life comes through the fact that I primarily take photos on my iPhone and live in a culture where technology is shifting the way we maintain our relationships and interact with each other. Relating to my own life, I connected with Gye’s claims that mobile phone cameras cause people to take more individualistic pictures and take more pictures with minimal meaning. My photo library is cluttered with random pictures that I would never frame on a wall or have taken if I had a disposable camera.
Here is an image of someone filming on an iPhone.