1.8 billion photos are now shared every day via our smartphones. That is staggering and tots up to 657 billion a year.
Or to put it differently: Every two minutes, people take more photos that ever existed in total 150 years ago.
For my birthday in September we did the tourist thing in London. Museums (V&A and The Natural History) tick, tick, Big Ben, walk by the Thames, 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace tick, tick, tick, tick. We soaked up the atmosphere, commented on how busy the tube was, I caught an Autumn leaf (lucky apparently) and had a picnic on one of the last warm sunny days of 2016. I took a couple of photos but mostly kept my phone in my pocket.
Judging by my fellow visitors, that makes me a little unusual. One in particular caught my attention - I'm really puzzled by the man I met outside Buckingham Palace, who stopped watching the Changing the Guard ceremony to ask me to step aside, so he could photograph the empty, muddy flower beds next to us.
What was he going to DO with that photo?! Surely it was not worth missing some of the once daily ceremony for?
People used to find it odd that tourists in the 80’s and 90’s were so obsessed with using their camera's. But now, not many moments seem to go past without being documented. In a way, with that volume of photos being taken daily, you could argue there's little point taking masses of your own photos. You could just look up the ones you need later, artfully captured by someone else and just enjoy the trip/moment happening right now instead. The photo above for example was taken by Sérgio E. Jr, I was elsewhere in the crowd and didn't have nearly as good a view.
Which leads me to wonder - if you're often behind the lens, are you really experiencing it at all? Will your memories be of the real moment, or the one framed in the lens?
By Charlee Sully, Designer at The Usual Studio. Twitter: @TheUsualStudio
I work across design, ideas, strategy and content, writing about branding, design, innovation and entrepreneurship. I love sushi, tea's my cuppa of choice and BBC6 music's always on. Unlike a former housemate - I do find comedy funny.