Maybe it’s harder to be moved by a photograph these days because there are so many of them. The numbers are inconceivable. Photography has always had its cheesy side – by the 1960s, 55 per cent of all pictures taken were of babies. But there are more than 2.6 billion camera phones on the planet today. Facebook alone has been known to upload six billion photographs in a month. We snap as many pictures today, every two minutes, as were taken in the entire 19th century, another boom time for photography.
The volume alone guarantees that most are forgettable. So why do we take them? For the same reason addicts are addicted to anything: to kill the pain of awareness, the uncomfortable difficulty of actually seeing. I admit that this is just a theory, but I watch tourists take the same four photographs minute by minute, hour by hour, day after day in downtown Banff, and it’s a strangely upsetting experience.
— Ian Brown at The Globe and Mail
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