Week 1: If you didn’t take a photo, did it really happen? The role of smartphones in time and place.

The notion of our media space to me carries a philosophical connotation which requires us to look deeper than just our various social media pages. It is the process of how it is we interact with different media, as well as what the use of that media says about us as a person and indeed our place in a ‘media society’.

Last year I was backpacking across much of Europe and the UK. Whilst a lot of the scenes I was fortunate enough to witness were mesmerising and “in the moment” experiences, I felt compelled to document much of this on my smartphone camera.  Sure, I can tell my family and friends what it’s like to witness a sunset on the Pembrokeshire Coast of Wales, or to bask in the sunshine of the Colosseum in Rome. But it seems the most pertinent question I received from such people was quite simply; “DID YOU TAKE A PHOTO.”

Some geriatrics such as my father see little point in taking photos, believing that if you “bloody well want to see something” then you “bloody well go there”. Despite this, it is interesting to note what connection media can give us to a particular space, place or moment in time. I will forever be cast back in a hypnotic state whenever I revisit photos of my travel adventures. I can vividly remember the air temperature, wind and sound of the ocean when I walked along the Amalfi Coast in Italy. These are experiences that cannot be replicated by simply staring at an image, however what it represents to me is a time of freedom and happiness.

One feature that consistently impresses me is the photo map that smartphones are able to create when you are travelling. Without even categorising photos, you are able to see a list of photos taken in different cities and countries – which adds to a sense of nostalgia when remembering such times.

Without even realising it, I was able to involve people from all over the world into my very own media space. Something as simple as uploading a photo invariably influences the day to day course of someone somewhere. Our media space says a lot about us as a person and our place in society. Whilst we may interact, network and attribute ourselves all to a different media space, fundamentally our means of acquiring a connection to this space is no different to anyone else.



About alexdebs

Second year Bachelor of Communications and Media studies student at the University of Wollongong. I am an aspiring journalist with a passion for sport, music and travel.
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