As the good old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The phrase has saturated modern culture in all its trite glory. It was probably even Kodak’s slogan when it released the revolutionary waterproof film camera more than a decade ago.
But back then pictures actually had meaning, because the act of capture was selective and limited. Each camera, at most, had 40 photos -- and there was the necessary trip to the drug store for development.
With the small sum of pictures available, every point and snap needed to be worth a thousand words, because they were authentic and representative. There were no “undo” or “delete” buttons, so thousands of exposures couldn’t be wasted on duck faces or selfies. Photos had meaning then.
They captured special memories, but today, the proliferation of cameras, and their social media counterparts, have flooded these special moments, and have catapulted every moment to the status of deserved documentation. This deluge has retracted from the inherent specialness of the moment and has proved detrimental to our society.
But those Kodak moments are beyond us and being in a photo during any occasion is easier than finding a slutoritiy girl to fuck on college campuses. The problem is not just in the multitude of these ridiculous photos, but that they might be the biggest liars our society faces beyond any political candidate.
Pictures lie a thousand words, it’s that simple. Firstly, in the deception of the aesthetic. It’s amazing how different someone can look when you put them through three different Instagram filters, sharpen the correct areas and add a drop shadow.
It can take a solid 5 and make everyone think that she is a 9. The rule of thumb: never trust how good a girl looks in pictures. Yet we fall for it, continuously, because we actually want to believe she is as hot as all her photos pretend she is.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times we have been disappointed in encountering a girl in real life, having been duped by how good a girl looks in photos. Sometimes I swear it must be a different person in her pictures, or her photographer must have been Terry Richardson’s brother. Photos deceive. Not just for women, but men as well, and I’m sure women go through the same struggle as we do. The deception is real.
Photos also lie about activity and social prowess. Between the nice cars we post on Instagram and pictures of us posing with a celebrity, we have skillfully discovered how to project a fantastic life unto our own.
The Ferrari might be from a car show, and you throwing a few empty bottles on your carpet might make it seem like you’re at the craziest party ever. But if you were really having that great of time, why are you so preoccupied with your Instagram?
The photos that we expose to the world tend to demonstrate an impressive lifestyle we more than likely don’t live. We deceive to impress others, to prove that life is good -- or better than theirs. The only thing that matters is getting that double tap to send you beyond 11 likes into the digits range.
People have structured their lives around these photos, living through the gaps between the next possible upload, proving that they are doing something with their lives: be it a nightclub, skiing or simply cooking. Life becomes artificial: a day strung together by seven or so uploads.
But the biggest way these photos lie are in the emotions that they project. They wedge themselves in the disparity of how happy we are and how happy we appear. You see it all the time when two people break up and they go into a picture war of who can fake being the happiest best.
We parade a life of happiness and ease to all our friends, and this is when insecurity develops. People look at their lives and ask themselves why it doesn’t look as great as the some of the other people documenting the intricacies of their own. But it’s inherently false, all of it.
Photos have gone from capturing moments to remember and cherish to an all out competition of artifice and deception. And it’s a competition that no one can win. Our lives have followed suit, bathed in pretense. A photo used to be worth something, but its value is plummeting.
Preston Waters | Elite.