Living Life in Pictures

PhotographyYou know the old adage:  A picture is worth a thousand words.

Well, with the plethora of images being uploaded these days … we’re talking billions and billions of images and words.

Recently, Yahoo estimated that the number of images uploaded to the web is nearing 900 billion, which translates to nearly 125 photos for every person on the planet.

Facebook reports that it’s seeing more than 6 billion photos uploaded each month, on average.

And Instagram?  It’s reporting that nearly 28,000 photos are uploaded every minute.

Clearly, we love our photos.  And since digital technology makes it so easy to take good-quality photos and post them instantly, it seems people can’t get enough of doing so.

It’s an interesting twist — in a sense, taking us back to the cavemen days and illustrations on the walls.

Over the centuries, words and language have made it faster and easier to communicate, even as drawing, painting or developing photos using analog (film) technology was difficult and/or time-consuming.

In more recent times, Polaroid® photos gave us a more “instant” experience with images … but sharing them was no easlier than before.  (Plus, let’s be honest:  Most Polaroid shots were pretty lame in the quality department.)

Now that digital photography is as effortless as it is … it seems everyone is rushing back to pictures.

We’re even seeing it in the world of books.  Take Amity Shlaes’ book The Forgotten Man, about the Great Depression.  It came out in conventional form in 2008.

The Forgotten Man (Graphic Edition)But now, it’s being released in a picture book version:  The entire book has been re-imagined as an elaborate comic book, replete with illustrations by veteran graphic artist Paul Rivoche.

And based on the early indications, it looks like the new graphic version is going to outsell the original.

Is all of this some kind of regression to an earlier stage — a return to a sort of “collective adolescence writ large”?

I think not.  It’s more a function of “doing what’s possible.”

I think human beings have always gravitated to pictorial portrayals — which explains the immediate embrace of movies and television when those innovations came on the scene.

So when photography becomes so easy to produce and to share, it’s only natural that we’re going to have billions and billions of images swirling around as a result.

And why not?  Life’s all the richer because of it.

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