I recently watched a documentary about photographer George Zimbel.
One phrase he repeated a few times has now been stuck in my head for two weeks — “digital trash.”
The way people share and interact with others through social media is quite different than before the internet and “smart phones” — much different than the 1940s when Zimbel was first starting out.
As primarily a film photographer, Zimbel is referring to the oodles and oodles of digital photos constantly taken and shared. Zimbel said in the documentary his main focus in photography is not sharing as much as possible or getting the most likes, but to tell a story in each frame.
Researchers, including myself, are studying the media, both social and news to see how it affects behavior and if it even has an effect at all.
I am referring to actions people take or don’t take when they post, share, paraphrase or read or not read on either medias.
This is important because older generations throw the words “these millennials” in protest to millennials’ behavior online, at work and questioning their values in life.
One of Zimbel’s quotes helps metaphorically explain how stories are read.
"You can take a photograph at 1/100 of a second", Zimbel said, "but it takes longer to read it. Reading a photograph is like taking a trip, you see things that kindle all kinds of memories, good and bad. Your life is the reference."
He is referencing to the thought put into taking a photograph and differentiating the photos which tells the story, but metaphorically it can explain the reading which happens after a photograph is taken, where it goes and who reads it — right into our minds to verify values and beliefs and an action or passive swipe down the page.
Say what you wish, but be aware it might not be taken the same way you shared it.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.