A girl is sitting on a chair watching a youtube tutorial on her phone of finger knitting and following along. The image has a black and white filter on it and her cell phone is in color.
Digital Media Projects

Photo Essay Thought Process: The Highs and Lows of Humans and Their Technology

When I first set out to create this photo essay, I had no idea what I was going to do or how I would source my photos. All I knew was that I wanted to come up with an idea that felt real and relevant, as well as entertaining. There are many different perspectives on technology, but the debate around it is mainly either argumentatively positive or negative. In my personal opinion, I don’t think it is a black and white issue, and that is exactly what I decided I wanted to portray in my photo essay.

After picking an idea, it was time to decide what photos I would use. I considered using free images from the internet, however, when I began to look through them, none of them felt right. They lacked intimacy and believability. Taking my photos felt much more realistic. I’ve never been a great photographer however, I surprisingly had a lot of fun doing this and I am proud of the outcome. I used my friends and family as my subjects and they were all super excited to participate. If I had to pick a favorite set of photos, it would be the ones of my little cousin and her tablet. One of the main issues with technology that we hear a lot about is the effect it has on the youth. People say that kids should spend more time playing with toys and learning, which was the issue portrayed in the first image. In the second image, I offer a new and conflicting perspective which shows her using her tablet to aid in her learning. I think it portrays both ends of the debate very strongly.

When it was time to decide on scenarios and sequencing for the photos, I definitely struggled. However, it felt best to start with a negative and end on a positive because it prompts the audience to really think about what they are seeing. I felt that showing the negative first and completing it with the positive reflects the point best because audiences are able to say “Hey, that’s really bad but look how good it can be as well”.

I think that the way I chose to edit the photos helps the audience grasp who the main character is. It is not any of the technology users or subjects in the photos, it’s the technology itself. I thought that using portrait mode and color editing was a great way to drive home the point. Keeping the technology as the main focal point of the image helps connect the audience’s mind to the main message of the photo essay. I tried to keep the captions simple and made sure to keep my verbiage neutral, allowing the audience to come to their own conclusions. The main takeaway that I want my audience to have after reading and looking through this essay is that there are terrible things about technology as well as great things and without it, our world wouldn’t function the same. 

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