The Meme Culture

Do you like memes? I’m quite sure you’ve smiled, maybe even laughed uncontrollably, seeing one or two that matched your particular vein of humour. Have you come across the one with Neil Armstrong and a young woman (two separate photos juxtaposed) in front of a bathroom mirror, with the following words attached?

– “Went to the Moon. Took 5 photos.” [Neil Armstrong] 

Went to the bathroom. Took 37 photos. [woman] 

Sounds funny enough, despite the obvious tint of irony on the part of the author. Today’s technology, the many social media and the so-called popular culture make it all too easy for us to take countless photos every day, without the price tag of the traditional in-camera film attached. Apparently, there are many reasons why we do it, some of them quite complex in nature, but that’s more of a research question for experts in psychology and sociology.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words. But Is It Really?

Do you sometimes wonder how many photos are taken daily, say, in a world heritage city like Kraków? Is it thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or maybe even more? My bet would be ‘hundreds of thousands’ (easily!)!

What is it, then, that makes us take hundreds of photos a day, especially when visiting new tourist destinations? Is it…

  1. Our fascination with the aesthetic beauty of architecture and cultural heritage we interact with?
  2. The ever growing creative appeal of modern cameras/ photography?
  3. Our need to preserve and “immortalise” every moment we consider special or remarkable, even in the most trivial of ways?

Or, maybe, it has more to do with our insecurities and self-perception? There are different answers for different people, of course. However, in the age of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Internet-based broadcasting in general, we are certainly encouraged to indulge many a narcissistic impulse. Let me conclude with a short question, then. Have you ever come across any interesting research around why people take more and more photos, what types of photos they have strong preferences for, finally, how the photos they take relate to their personalities? If the answer is ‘yes’, feel free to share it in the comment section 🙂