Street photography today – if candid images of people are the subject – is both easier and more difficult. The ubiquity of smartphones means that seemingly everyone has their eyes transfixed on their little screens. Even tourists are experiencing their visits via their LCDs. They are shooting video and posting their visual and textual snippets on social media all while their steps are choreographed to the commands of their GPS.
With so many eyes diverted, it’s easier to photograph people without being detected. But it’s also more difficult to create candid images that are not of people with their heads tilted toward their little slabs. It takes a lot more patience and keener observation to catch those moments when people are interacting with each other, enjoying being in each other’s presence, or simply being.
I’ve done a few radio shows where I’ve been asked about future technologies. A frequent guess of mine is that the functionality of our smartphones – and many other features that we cannot even imagine at this time – will gradually get integrated into our bodies. Screens and tapping will get replaced by mind control – an enhanced form of thinking, if you will.
People get tattoos, nose jobs, face lifts, knee replacements, heart transplants, and much more. So once the technology is advanced enough, early adopters will gladly go under anesthesia and the knife to get upgraded. When that happens, future generations will look back at our photographs and be amused by the primitive quaintness of when everyone was perpetually looking down at a smartphone.
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