Ephemerality

Continuing with the thoughts on photography: Social media theorist Nathan Jurgenson made an interesting point on Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything podcast regarding the nature of digital photographs. He believes that giving our snapshots an expiration date actually infuses other photos with more meaning.

“We have so many photos. (…) They are piling up. And since nobody is looking at them even the next day, they might as well be temporary. Let’s face it: Most photography is becoming Snapchat. (…)

In the entire history of photography, every new technological invention has been about making more photos. Ephemeral services like Snapchat are really the first invention that is about there being fewer photos in the world. One of the great advantages of injecting ephemerality into our photos is (…) is to make the photos we do choose to keep around forever relatively more important. It is like we have printed too much visual currency, too much visual photographic currency and it doesn’t have any value. So let’s maybe print less. That way, the photos we do choose can really be permanent”