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Aloha and Happy New Year! 2013 was a ferociously busy year for me as I continued to juggle various projects. It was great to see projects like www.walkingphotographertours.com come to fruition and I can’t wait to see more results from this and other projects in 2014!

The last few years have been pretty epic for photography in general. The continual advancements in digital technology, social media and the monumental rise in popularity of the camera phone has meant that more people are taking, making and sharing photos than ever before!

As everyone knows, what goes up must come down and what becomes popular must be attacked! Towards the end of 2013 I started to notice murmurs of an inevitable photography / picture taking backlash.

One of the first “anti-photography” items I noticed, was a viral photo (oh the irony!) of crowd at a gig. Every member in the crowd was holding up a camera or camera phone except for one person. The bold caption read something along the lines of “Only one person saw this concert!”. The idea that holding a camera up in front of your eyes removes you from the situation and alters your experience of an environment isn’t a new one. In an interview, artist David Hockney states his departure from photography came from a growing frustration with the medium and claimed that photography made him feel like an outsider rather than a participant.

It’s this exact argument that seems to be gathering momentum as we go into 2014. I can certainly understand the basis for this concern. At a gig, in a restaurant, on a train or even in the work place, it’s hard to go anywhere without noticing someone snapping away on their camera phone. But does this mean that these people are compromising their experiences? A recent Guardian article titled ‘Does taking photographs ruin your memory?‘ revealed research suggesting that people remembered less of the scenes they photographed than the scenes they hadn’t.

It’s interesting research, though it’s important to note that the experiment only explored the effects on short term memory. For my part, I believe that taking a photo means that we can take more time to appreciate a scene or a moment. It can also mean we notice things we may not have noticed until we put that camera or smart phone in front of our face. I think this video sums up quite nicely why I think taking photographs will always be important…

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