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How Smartphone Cameras Changed the Way We Document Our Lives

Published onDec 30, 2019
How Smartphone Cameras Changed the Way We Document Our Lives
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AS THE DECADE comes to a close, social media is packed with nostalgic memes marking the end of the decade. On Twitter, people are humblebragging about their biggest personal accomplishments. (Mine is a tie between meeting a cat named Larry David and finally going to a Guy Fieri restaurant.) And predictably, on Instagram, people are posting side-by-side photos of their 2009 selves and their current selves.

Search the Instagram hashtag #2009to2019 or #10yearchallenge and you’ll notice bangs are out and flannel is in. But there are two basic changes related to technology that are easy to miss. The first is unsurprising: Image quality has gotten much better. The second showcases how our photo taking style has changed. While most people’s 2009 photos are obviously taken by someone else—full-body shots from a distance, often containing little bits of forearm or cheek that reveal friends or family cropped out—most people’s current photos are mirror selfies where their smartphone is visible, or a flattering front-facing camera snap. Just as video killed the radio star, the smartphone has largely replaced the stand-alone camera.

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How Smartphone Cameras Changed the Way We Document Our Lives(Jane C. Hu, Slate, December 30, 2019)

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