Are Digital Photographs Too Plentiful To Be Meaningful?

Rosenfeld, Lucinda. “A Lament for the Photo Album.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Dec. 2012,

Samantha Zakrzewski, Writer/Editor

With the click of a button, you can capture the perfect moment in a second to be forever stored in a cloud that you can access easily. No longer must you wait the grueling minute or two for your polaroid to be produced from your oversized camera. Don’t like the photo? Not a problem! Rather than reinserting the film into your bulky camera, you just have to press a button on your phone screen and voila! When it comes time to look back at these exuberant memories, you no longer have to lug out your massive photo album and flip through those thick, sticky pages- you merely open the photo app on your phone and type in the date of whatever memory you’re searching for and it will pop up.

With the cellphone camera, one can take as many photos as they desire as they are stored forever in the cloud. Cellphone cameras enable users to capture every moment by taking an endless amount of photos, ensuring that the memories are forever to be remembered. With the old cameras, people were forced to decide which moments to capture (as film was expensive) and they had one shot to capture it, making it extremely critical that the subjects of their photos were in the perfect position. As you would imagine, that could be made quite the challenge when you’re attempting to take a picture of your on the go toddler.

While the idea of no longer having photo albums take up space in your house and being able to capture an endless amount of photos seems appealing, it makes one wonder- are photos losing their meaning?

Before the digital camera, people would take the time to print out their pictures and glue them into their photo albums. Taking the time to put a picture in an album allows one to reminisce about their memories and appreciate their photos. People today simply snap a few photos of the same subject and rarely look back at these memories. Having a physical copy of a photo is far more meaningful than having a digital copy. Physical copies can be cherished in an album, while digital copies are viewed while you quickly scroll through your camera roll.

Digital photographs have taken away the meaning of photos. Sure people have easier access to their photos and thus can view and share them more easily. But people are so obsessed with capturing the perfect moment on their camera that they can’t even enjoy the moment. The internet and social media universes are filled with an abundance of photos, resulting in the loss of meaning of these pictures.

However, there are a lot of benefits to the digital camera. For one thing, if you take a photo and someone’s eyes were closed or there’s a glare in your photo, you can easily retake it in a matter of seconds. This makes photo taking far more convenient. Not only that, but digital photos are also far more accessible, allowing phototakers to share their beloved memories more easily.

It’s completely understandable as to why people have traded in their bulky cameras for their convenient camera phones. Who wants to drag around their enormous camera when they can simply pull out their camera phone? Having a camera at your fingertips makes taking pictures less of a hassle and encourages people to take more pictures.

Although I’m not advocating against the use of cellphone cameras (I too use them as it’s far more convenient for me to snap pictures on my phone rather than a camera), I believe that people should value the photos that they capture. Rather than taking a bunch of photos and forgetting about their existence, people should take the time to appreciate the photos that they take.