The Medium is the Message

I know this title is already tagged to Marshall McLuhan, but I discovered a modern application.

In my youth, pictures were black and white. The film, remember that, was mailed away to Toronto for developing and printing. No refunds for blurred images or folks who blinked as the shutter clicked. Poor pictures were costly.

I remember sticking my finger into the lens opening – no glass protection and seeing what looked like a safety pin in my Kodak box camera. I flicked it and took a great image of my finger, so blurred it might as well have been of the sky.

Then these treasured moments were often put into albums to be shared with friends and family. This was a lot of work. Pictures were carefully dated and explained on the back. Album space was valuable, so only the best shots were included. This was a photographic curation job.

Fast forward to current times. I recently received a digital picture frame. It is an easy way to display your photos as they are stored and rotated through the collection, pausing for a set number of seconds or minutes.

My new gift has a feature that caught my attention. I can invite others to contribute their pictures to my frame. Now when my relatives are on vacation, they can upload a few shots, and they show up on my frame in just moments.

This got me thinking about what is good for the goose is good for the gander. If my relatives had frames, I could upload a few of my pictures to keep them in the loop.

In these modern times, pictures are very cheap, with cell phone cameras and no film, development and storage costs. I didn’t want to send every picture I took to somebody else’s frame. So I, too, had to curate my images for my own frame and anyone else’s to which I was given permission.

What criteria should I use? Only those with excellent composition, lighting, perhaps? Did people need to be in the shot? What about all those pictures I see of filled dinner plates?

Curating a collection of images may not have changed over time, after all. Instead, the pool of photos to choose from has grown enormously. A quick search by Google indicates that more photographs will be taken this year than in the entire history of film photography. I read it on the Internet, so it must be true. Or not!

So, please give this a bit of a think.

What would be the top 10 pictures you would want rotating through your own digital frame? How would that curated collection change if you were sending them to another’s frame? How would those images change, depending on who had the frame?

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please leave your comment.

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

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