Impact of Photography on Society: Looking at the Big “Picture”


Pictures are cool. They capture every moment of our lives in great details. As time progresses, I have witnessed the changes of the society shifting from traditional film camera to digital camera, and finally into our pocket in the form of a smartphone. In fact, this is what our classmates from CIS 2050 tells us on Courselink.


As technology advances, new technology are making our camera more portable than ever. In fact, in the next few years, you probably don’t even need to use your hand to hit the shutter button! Instead, you can simply tell Google Glass to “take a picture”, literally!  After taking a picture, different social networking website such as Twitter, Facebook and Google + allows us to share photos instantly around the globe.  Taking pictures is a “cool” thing to do nowadays. To what extent? If you want to ask me a number related to pictures. I would tell you that on the day of January 1, 2013, people have uploaded 1.1 billion photos within 48 hours onto Facebook . If you were to ask me for one more number, I would say 76, as in the percent of people who had been tagged on a picture when they seemed to be drunk. This number game can go on, but technology has it’s “side effects” as well, people have been using doctored photos to gain public attention and used it politically. Moreover, the photographs that we share online can be considered as a liability and can hunt you back. Nevertheless, technological advance of photography has changed substantially through out the years. What’s going to be next?  Before getting to our main topics, I would like to show you a video of how much detail the camera captures a person as time elapse.


Do not believe everything you see!

Photo editing is fun. In fact, one of my personal hobby is to add strange things onto my pictures using software like Photoshop in my spare time. For the purpose of writing this blog I did an “experiment” with my friends.  I told my friends that I got a new car, and I doctored the image by changing the colour of my parent’s car to a relatively unrealistic colour – purple and changed my license plate to a non-existent combination on Photoshop to test whether my friend would believe in it . As a result, even though I was an amateur in Photoshop, I was able to trick my friends with ease.  However, on a societal level, this can’t be happening…. Or can it?


Photographs tries to tell you what happened the past. But,  they can also be deceiving. In unit 3, an article discussed how pictures can be utilized as a political tool to influence our attitude and behavior. You probably think that this phenomenon only occurred recently, if you look at the image below, think again.


This is a photograph of Josef Stalin with his commissar, taken in 1930. His portrait was removed when he fell out of favor, as if the person had never existed.


Photographs are also the witness for different events. However, people have used them to turn against us. While doctored photo happens in a political setting to hide a fact, the media on the other hand have used it as a tool to gain attention and popularity. The media can use the doctored picture as “evidence” to exaggerate or even falsify news.  While some of their “plans” have been exposed, others have proven to be successful. Taking the photo above as an example, on August, 30, 2008, magnitude of 8.0 earthquake struck Sichuan, China. While the rescuers were searching for survivors, according to online sources, the women who was buried alive protected her child by covering her son. Fortunately, the child was still “sleeping calmly” when rescuers found him. When the medical team conducted a physical examination on the child, they discovered a cell phone message displaying “If you lived, you must remember that I love you”.

This blog was passed on and touched many who read up until this point. However, when you see sub-topic “Do you believe what you see”  might make you suspicious to think that this image has been doctored, in fact this is not! However, this image was taken 3 years before Sichuan Earthquake even occurred and the media used this photograph to gain attention by matching public interest.

doctored_photos_18 doctored_photos_17

On the other hand, in 2008, two images were shown by the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard that were made to the public. They claimed that the launch was very successful… EXCEPT, they hid the fact that one of the missile truck malfunctioned during the launch. The second picture was manipulated by adding the forth missile in the background and removed  the malfunctioning truck out of the picture.

In our daily life, some doctored images can be easily identified but some are not! So, do not get blinded by media and do more background research before believing in something. Here is a useful tutorials that helps you to spot fake photos. In addition, it’s also wise to go on credible and reputable websites  for sources of information.

Don’t let your photographs to be remembered forever!

Humans have a tendency to forget, but pictures are the ones that makes you remember.

How easy is it for you to go on a website, right click on any image and press the “Save Image As” button? Even if the image that is posted online was deleted afterwards, but YOU have the ability to put it up online from YOUR hard drive. You might think that this is not a big deal. Guess what? If others saw the image that you have just posted and went through the same cycle. Technically, this image might ended up in circulation on the internet forever. You might think: Oh, that’s still not a big deal, there is nothing wrong with the picture. What happens if it is? You will have no idea that you might get turned down by your next job application, a date or even used by other people for their advantage simply because of the pictures that you put up. Therefore, keeping them private are essential.Even though there are apps such as Snap Chat that “claims” to control how long your friends sees the image before it’s “permanently” deleted. But in fact, photos that have been claimed to be deleted are actually stored in the folder called received_image_snaps on the device itself. Therefore, if you think a picture that you post may get out of your hands, simply don’t share them, unless you don’t mind them to be on the internet forever. Personally speaking, what can be better than showing the pictures to the people you know physically? Not only you can laugh with them, you are eliminating the risk of the photo going to the public. Embarrassing photos are probably not new to everyone. But taking celebrities for example, their reputation can be completely ruined if it goes on headlines.  And the same goes with you, therefore, it’s important to make sure that your photographs are private. How? Here are some practical tips for changing your Facebook privacy settings. For your entertainment, the video shown below is a form of consequences when you put embarrassing photo on their profile pictures.

After watching this video,  instead of summarizing the paragraph by myself, I found a comment made by Chasinglights1217 which summarized it perfectly.


The next step for photography:

When a person decides to take a picture, you need to focus first. Or do you?  Here is a new invention, the Lytro camera is a new technology that utilize light field which allow you to focus AFTER you take the picture. According to the TED talk showed above, focus before you take the image guarantee you to miss out some of the “fun things” that has been going on the background. With Lytro, changing the focus of the camera is like changing the way you tell a story. Being able to experience the effect when the focus is changed also helps beginners to learn photography.  If you are an enthusiastic photographer but find that it’s difficult to adjust to a new camera, don’t worry. It’s very easy to get started since it only has an on/off switch and a shutter button. You can zoom in and zoom out by pressing the surface on top. How easy is that!

3D camera has been released for some time and didn’t reach its expected popularity because not only you need view it with a weird looking 3D glasses but also on a 3D ready TV taken by a 3D camera. Unless the way we view 3D images  does not change, this situation will not improve. Definitely agreeing with this article, if the next generation of iPad supports 3D screen without glasses, this invention would definitely gain more popularly just with the matter of time.

Impact of photography on society: Looking at the big “picture”

The purpose of this article is not trying to tell you that the biggest image in the world is 320 gigapixel! Instead, all I am trying to tell you in this article is to look at this technology as a whole.  Photographs and pictures are wonderful creation by human kind that record our history and present. However, every invention is also a double edged sword; we should understand its impact both positively and negatively. Being aware of what we share with others as well as looking for the reliable sources are the key message of this article.

In general……

Thank you for reading my first blog in my life! I hope you enjoyed it!


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