Many of you have probably seen the recent photo of Hillary Clinton greeted by a crowd of backs…lots of backs. No, it wasn’t a sign of protest. The people in the crowd just wanted a selfie with her. You can’t take a picture of both of your faces if you’re actually looking at her, right?
As a photographer, this fascinates me. We often talk about our changing interactions in a digital world, but what we don’t often talk about is our changing sense of self and self-presentation in a digital world. We no longer experience the world first-hand in the way we used to. We experience it second-hand through photos, through videos – even GIFs.
Though I have my own thoughts on this trend, I wanted to see why people are so insistent on taking photos at events – selfies or otherwise – so I asked:
We can see that most people do take photos at events, with the main reason being to remember them.
We found that these people are more likely to be women, married, and between the age of 35 and 54. They are more likely to use a wearable fitness tracker, and are more likely to buy organic food. Lastly, they also are more likely to earn between $50k and $100k each year.
Putting The Phone Down
These folks may need a little wake-up call.
A popular 2013 study shows that people who take photos at events have a much harder time remembering them. Linda Henkel, coordinator of the study, says that “as soon as you hit click on that camera, it’s as if you’ve outsourced your memory.”
So, if these people really are taking photos to remember them, they may want to think twice.
This also may be interesting for companies to consider. With people increasingly spending money on experiences instead of things, while clearly holding a strong desire to remember those events and experiences, what could help them do so, if not photos?
To further delve into this idea of self-representation and photos in the digital age, I ran a question asking people if they care more about looking good in photos or in person. The results from that may surprise you, but as every must-see TV show goes, you’ll have to wait to see those results after the break (though I’m not quite sure what constitutes “the break” in this situation).