Photography: a bugbear

Photography, in the hands of experts, becomes a beautiful experience.

It shares; it conveys stories; it is visionary. It captures fleeting moments, embalming time into glittering amber pieces that can be appreciated at leisure.

An artful photo is akin to - for the lack of a better phrase - visual arts. Astonishing. Mind-blowing. Wondrous.

However, in most cases, I can't agree with what photography has become.

People wield heavy DSLRs to pose for cutesy shots with their friends. The weighty camera give a ballooning sense of self-worth to people who take the ugliest shots. Worse, at a higher resolution.

In the past, not too long ago, most shots were well-composed. A roll of film could only take a limited number of pictures, perhaps a maximum of 36 photos. Photographers must choose films according to location; taking photos on a beach would require a roll of film different from that needed to take photos in a forest. Care must be exercised since photography was a laborious activity which condoned no mistakes.

Nowadays, some people simply point and shoot. Taking photos has become so cheap that, as a corollary, it has become thoughtless as well.

Most importantly, we forget to treasure the present. In the most beautiful places - lakes with glistening waters, pinnacles where clouds drift by, forests of vivid ocher and emerald hues - we take shots compulsively.

We are concerned with trapping memories for the future. For the 'will-be's, 'maybe's and 'perhaps'. We want images that will remind us - and tell others - of the rich joys we have sampled.

When we look at these photos, we then dream up experiences and memories. The future, it seems, has a higher priority than the present.

 The alien eyes of cameras