June 7, 2018
I remember looking at some magazine photographs of the royal procession from Winchester Cathedral following the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and being both amazed and disgusted at the number of people on the route who weren’t waving at the newlyweds, but who were taking pictures with their smartphones. Why not, I asked myself, just enjoy the moment? Why not just wave happily or proudly hold up the Union Jack? Do you not realize that MILLIONS of photographs will be taken of these few moments, all of which will be better than yours? WHY ARE YOU TAKING PICTURES AT A TIME LIKE THIS??
Shortly thereafter, however, I came upon this article in the New York Times (published shortly after the 2017 solar eclipse), which shattered my preconceived notions about taking photographs during some memorable event: according to the article (entitled “Taking Photos Won’t Take You Out Of The Moment, Study Suggests”), “researchers found that taking photos during an experience helped people remember visuals more accurately, even when they didn’t revisit their photos.”
There is, however, an important caveat: The research also indicates that taking pictures with the primary goal of sharing them on social media can counteract the positive effects of deeper engagement and memory.
Fun fact: According to the article, people across the globe will take 1.3 trillion photographs this year.