I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of a concert is when I am trying to see the performer but a video-taking iPad is in the way.

When was the last time you went to a concert and didn’t take a picture or video to put on social media? Did you make a Snapchat Story or post on Instagram? If I had been at a concert 30 years ago, the only thing blocking my view of the entertainer would have been someone’s hand in the air.

The overuse of cellphones and the need to take pictures and document every event in our lives has become excessive in the past decade. With fast-changing technology, our world has become picture-obsessed.

Ticketfly, a ticketing event company, has revealed that more than 40 percent of females ages 18 to 34 use their smartphones during concerts to take videos and pictures. The worst revelation is that 5 percent of people replied that they were on their phone the entire concert.

And this exorbitant use of the camera is not limited to concerts. Everywhere we go, we feel the need to take pictures. I have found myself feeling pressured to make sure I have a good picture of what is happening before I can truly enjoy an event.

A big contributor to the photography binge is the ability to have a camera ready in an instant and see the picture within seconds. When older cameras were in use, people had to wait to see their film develop. Because of this, there wasn’t an obsessive quality to picture-taking. You would find out later if you got a good picture and focus, meanwhile, on enjoying the moment. There wasn’t the added pressure of getting the “perfect picture” to post on social media or share with your friends.

Feeling the need to snap the perfect shot has gone so far that people will go to certain locations just to take pictures for their social media. I am guilty of wanting to go to a specific place out of the way to find a good picture. It can be fun, but when it gets to the point of obsessing over the shot, it has gone too far.

Filtering pictures and making sure they have the perfect edits goes hand-in-hand with the number of photos that are taken. Sometimes we are so focused on editing the picture that we become completely oblivious to the world around us. After we finish editing, we make sure to text it to a friend and make sure that it is acceptable before the picture is posted. With all the time wasted on making the perfect image, we could have been focused on what’s going on around us.

Pictures have been transformed from being a keepsake to a source of status, a way for people to gain recognition and feed their egos. Years ago, people didn’t take four strips of film and hang them outside of their house for everyone to see, and it shouldn’t be that way today. Whether it is posting it on Facebook or Instagram, or hanging four strips of film outside of your house, the motive would be to show, rather than to reminisce.

Pictures have become a method of social climbing. It is mind-boggling to think that some users have over 200,000 followers on Instagram because of their photographs. They go to cool spots, take pictures, edit, post and gain followers.

What if we put down our iPhones and just enjoyed the beautiful beaches and amazing places we are visiting instead of trying to find the perfect angle? Imagine how much our eyes would be opened if we didn’t take our phones and cameras everywhere. We would see the whole scene, and not just what the panorama feature on our phone can capture.

Young people, especially, have become trapped in the picture-taking culture. Try to keep your phone in your pocket for one social event, and see how much you would have missed. Go to a concert and don’t post a single Snapchat Story. If this excessive need to document every moment of our lives continues, we will soon not have a life to document.

 

Anna Carr, of Medina, is a student at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School.