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The Moments of a Photograph

Smartphones let everyone be a recorder of the world around them. Yes, yes, it’s been said many times before. People now document everything from their lunch to a post graduation trip around the world. Photographers and viewers alike have examined the intersection of artistic photography and the pulp photography we find on Instagram. But that’s not the topic of this blog post.

Wired published an article outlining a new Google robot that automatically sorts and organizes digital photographs for you. It is called Stories, and it “automates photo album creation” based on dates, locations, and the actual subject of the photograph. After a weekend of taking pictures, you will wake up Monday with albums sorted out – a trip to the park, a walk with John, etc. 

Apart from the ‘Big Brother’ element behind this, it is an interesting feature that will make a lot of peoples lives much easier. But perhaps this all serves as a question; Is taking a picture just clicking the button, or is it more than that? Isn’t there some reflection of the moment that makes the picture as well? I’d say it’s more than just the click of a button, both for the iPhone and definitely for artistic photography (that’s not even a question). So then, what is a photograph in today’s (arguably) over-documented society?

Does this new Google feature help make our lives easier and more enjoyable, or does it increasingly turn us into robots by making our documentation of our own lives even more mindless? This is something we’ll be thinking about. 

Read about the new Google+HPhotos Stories here: http://www.wired.com/2014/05/google-photo-stories/

Image courtesy Brian Howell.

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