So a friend of yours and you are in a store, picking out clothing you want for a party. You hop over to a trial room to try what you’ve found. You step out in a perfect outfit and show it off to your friend, and in seconds, it’s time for a celebratory selfie. She whips out a phone and you pose. The picture turns out alright and you’ve decided what to buy. Later, you head home and share the photograph on the social network, get an appropriate number of likes and comments to make you feel good about yourself. In time, you find that the picture of the two of you has another shopper in the background, showing off her trial results to her friend.
What just happened inadvertently, is a violation of their right to privacy. Since the inception of the arrival of these quick-fix cameras in the comfort of one’s pocket, privacy has been a huge cause for concern. One of the most important things one should be rightfully doing while photographing oneself or a private gathering in a public space, is to see that the background does not include people doing what they may not put up photos of, in a public forum. True, there isn’t necessarily an overt or obvious kind of a “damage” attached to occurrences such as this: but the fact is that there should be some boundaries established.
Now zooming into the picture that was captured at first: the idea of posing until one gets it right, or the fact that there should be an appropriate number of likes and comments to feel good about oneself: these things raise concerns about self-esteem. On the one hand, we work hard to create a kind of an image of ourselves – an image that we want to project as the “ideal” self that we are. In doing that, we use everything from photoshop to filters to modify the way we look. On the other hand, just doing this is not enough: the bigger quotient needs presence in the form of validation. The point to taking photos, really, is to preserve memories and to stand by things that once happened and remain recorded in our memories – and to give them tangibility. But now, the sanctity that was once attached to this has fast eroded, as pictures race to compete with one another to mark the “hottest” or the “most beautiful” faces one can imagine.
The jealousy of social happiness is a huge load of pressure to come across as one who is “living it up” and “looking good” all the time. But what of the emptiness that we try to fill through these incessant pictorial exchanges?