By Sophia Choudhury, 3rd Year French and Spanish Student
The Croft Magazine // Sophia debates whether taking pictures enhances or detracts from your trip.
In the age of smartphones, Snapchat and Instagram stories, people often trip into the reaching-for-their-cameras-at-every-moment trap - whether it be to capture the neon lights of Times Square, or crystal clear waves breaking on a beach in Australia. But might the modern traveller benefit from taking a step back and asking themselves - is my camera enhancing this experience, or is it simply acting as a barrier between myself, and a deeper appreciation of this moment?
Often, fuelled by the accessibility of technology and social media, today’s travellers choose to preserve moments with timelines and photographs rather than written diaries. This more modern style of journaling certainly boasts a few bonus points : images and videos may act as a record of an enjoyable or special moment by capturing a destination’s atmosphere : enabling the photographer to share holiday highlights with family and friends. When photography is used to encourage an eye for detail or as a platform for artistic talent, it can open doors to careers in journalism, advertising, fashion and more. Photographs might be taken with more pragmatic advantages in mind, or simply snapped with potential personal and sentimental value in mind.
However, though travel photography has its advantages, all positives have their drawbacks. Being stuck behind a camera lens - forever in the search for the ‘perfect’ shot - can prevent a fully immersive experience. The way people behave is the best example of this loss of touch with reality - ranging from the ignorant to the disrespectful and inconsiderate; instead of taking into account and learning about the historical, cultural and religious significance of places like Auschwitz and Angkor Wat, people choose to visit only so that they can take selfies and ‘pose’ with the monuments. These moment-cherry-picking-behaviours are rooted in social media trends and can lead to experiences being edited and filtered even whilst they are happening.
Ultimately, the value of photography boils down to how aware we are of the moment that it is immortalising. Photographs and videos can be immensely precious reminders of once-in-a-lifetime experiences - but caution must be taken to avoid the risk of becoming a traveller who snaps photos purely to show off on social media.