Approaching infinity?

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Have you ever wondered how many photographs are being, or have been, taken on digital cameras?

Apparently, to date over 50 billion photos have been posted on Instagram, well over 250 billion on Facebook, about 30 to 40 million images PER DAY on Twitter (that is  at least 10,950,000,000 per year), over 175 billion on Pinterest.  On New Years Eve 2017,  Whatsapp users posted 13 billion images plus 5 billion videos. This adds up to a huge number of pictures. But, not everyone uploads their digital pictures and videos to social media, or at least not every picture they have taken. So, this means that in addition to those which are uploaded, many, many digital images are being created every microsecond.

If they are not shared via the internet, what happens to the galaxy of photos and videos being created? Some are briefly looked at and then deleted. Others are kept to show selected acquaintances. A few are used to illustrate books and articles and some are printed on photographic paper.

One of the joys of old-fashioned film photography was the excitement of waiting to see how your photos or videos looked after the film was developed. Digital photography reduces the delay between snapping and seeing the result from several hours to a week (as it used to be) to a very few seconds. Yet, even with this almost instantaneous result, there is excitement to see what the image looks like. 

The ease of use of cameras installed in mobile ‘phones has resulted in the huge numbers of pictures and videos being made. The numbers of images taken already and those yet to be taken must surely reaching that impossible to reach number, namely infinity!

Sharing photos

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I was given my first camera, a Kodak Brownie’, when I was about 7 years old. Since that time I have owned a variety of cameras and camera ‘phones and I have taken many thousands of pictures. 

In the early days, I used to have prints made from negatives. Later, I became converted to colour slide (‘diapositive’) film and produced many colour slides. With the arrival of computers and the Internet into my life, I reverted to film that produced prints and when it became available, I had digital images of my photographs put on compact discs. Nowadays, I hardly ever have prints made from my digital images.

Ever since I first began taking photos, I have enjoyed showing them to other people: relatives, friends, colleagues, and whoever else showed even the tiniest bit of interest. However, when you present people with an album full of photographs or arrange a slide projection session, most folk begin to lose interest fairly fast. Many of them have agreed to look at someone’s pictures mainly out of politeness, rather than genuine interest.

All of that has changed with the advent of social media and Internet sites for displaying photographs. People need only look at pictures when they are interested and for as long as they want without risking offence to the photographer. Often, if they want to, viewers can express their approval and/or make comments. What is more, the viewers need no longer be confined to the friends and acquaintances of the creator of the images. It is possible to make images available to everyone, who uses the Internet. Some may not be happy with that, but I am. My desire to ‘show off’ my pictures to as many people as possible has been fulfilled!

I find that apart from sites like Facebook, the website ipernity.com is a superb place to post pictures. Other users of the site are often both appreciative and helpful with their comments and suggestions. My Ipernity page is http://www.ipernity.com/home/adam 

PLEASE TAKE A LOOK!

No photography

In India, I have become used to seeing rules disobeyed. One only has to watch road traffic to see plenty of transgressions.

However, usually regulations forbidding photography in museums and art galleries are rigidly enforced. While trying to sneak an illicit photograph in the Mysore Palace, my camera was temporarily confiscated. I was able to recover it by giving the official a small financial ‘gift’. A member of my family was asked to delete a couple of photos taken against the rules in the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Bangalore.

I was disappointed to find that the NGMA in Bombay also forbids photography unless it is for professional purposes, for which a fee of 1000 rupees (currently about £11) per image is levied.

The NGMA in Bombay is housed within a lovely old building, the Sir Cowasji Jehangir Public Hall. Its contemporary interior, where artworks are displayed, is a lovely example of contemporary design. I was itching to photograph it. We asked one of the security men if I could take a picture of the general layout of the gallery without focussing on works of art. To my great surprise, he said that I could do it.

After viewing the whole gallery, where works of the socially conscious political artist Navjot Altaf were on display, I heard a visitor asking another official whether he could take ‘selfies’ in the gallery. He was told that he could not take selfies, but he could take photos of anything else in the NGMA. Again, I was surprised, not about the selfies, but about photography being permitted in a place full of notices forbidding it.

Well, I was pleased to discover that Indian flexibility about interpreting rules extends to the NGMA in Bombay. Hats off to the people who work there!

A bigger audience

During the 1970s and ’80s, I used to take pictures on my film camera using colour slide (diapositive) film. To enjoy these, they were best projected onto a good quality screen

Setting up the projector was quite a nuisance. Finding an audience amongst my friends was not always easy and, if they were willing to watch my slideshows, keeping them awake was also often difficult.

Turning the clock forward to the present era of digital cameras and the internet, the situation has changed. First of all, pictures may be easily uploaded on to the internet. Secondly, the existence of social media websites allows a far larger potential audience for one’s photos than ever before. Pictures can be posted on websites which are viewed by those with special interests or on others, like Instagram and Facebook, which allow the non specialised viewers as well as experts to see the images.

A wonderful thing about uploading one’s photos is that there are opportunities for viewers to comment on the pictures. This, I find to be very valuable. Other people point out things that I had not noticed or understood. I like this.

Unlike slideshows of the past, audiences can enjoy as many or as few of the uploaded pictures as they want without having to look at numerous slides politely whilst dying of boredom!