Even if everyone is a photographer, we’re not all photojournalists. The umpteen photos taken, uploaded and shared every day share moments, snippets, ideas, jokes, personal notes, but what do they say?
In my mind, most of the complaints about the rise of democratized photography stem from visual information overload and the quest for stories, not snippets. Snippets are perfectly fine - fleeting, momentary, humanizing, visual communication can be powerful - but acknowledge the difference. “It’s not information overload. It’s Filter Failure.” is based on the challenge that our systems for managing information abundance are perpetually swamped by the growth of information, and I believe it applies to visual imagery as well. With umpteen images of the same place, or event, or message already existing and being created, how do we find a way to make a different, meaningful, even popular image? How do we filter and find the “best” images?
That’s where stories come in. The best images have a deeper, richer context that draw us in deeper, that bring us back, that show us something new every time we look at them. The best images have a story behind them; whether it’s personally relevant, socially relevant, culturally relevant, or ubiquitously relevant, there is a story that rises above the individual image, that spreads its wings beyond the image in front of our eyes.
So, share snippets, and enjoy it. But don’t stop there. Share stories also.