I’ve been using a small digital camera for a while now. My first digital camera was a Nikon Coolpix L6, and it’s still going strong (I’ve been using it for close to seven years). I’ve also played around with friends’ digital cameras and some larger, more expensive “digitals” with such features as interchangeable lenses. Digital photography offers a lot of freedoms. I can take a lot of pictures (and delete those that I don’t like); zoom in and out; alter flash; and change various other settings. Once I’ve uploaded the pictures to my computer, iPhoto allows me to enhance color, crop, and otherwise fine-tune the picture.
Then, of course, digital cameras offer an expanded range of sharing methods. I don’t need anything but my own computer and the Internet to share when using a digital. This freedom poses a set of challenges that never really came up with the disposables. Not only can I share photos whenever I want with whomever I want, so can everybody else. My friends can post pictures of me, and if I don’t like the picture, all I can do is “untag” myself or ask them to take it down. Among friends that might not be a big deal, but when the sharer and the subject don’t know each other, the subject of the photo has very little recourse in protecting their privacy. To use myself as an example: I don’t like my photo being put online. Today, a student popped into the third floor lounge and took a photo “for a photo-scavenger hunt,” explaining only after taking the picture (and never actually asking if the subjects minded). In this particular instance, I was not in the photo, due to my location in the lounge, but if I had been, what would my options be? I could ask him to delete, but I have no way of enforcing that, nor of controlling the dissemination of the photo if he didn’t delete.
Digital photography and photo-sharing online, whether it’s through Flickr or any other social media certainly has its uses, but the freedom they offer comes with a greater possibility of “doing harm” than more restricted methods of photography and sharing. Since I dislike my photo being posted myself, I avoid taking shots in which the subjects are recognizable without asking permission, and I rarely post photos with people in them. In consequence, the above Flickr set contains only inanimates. Using digital photography to incorporate people into a blog or video can be both useful and and fun, but it comes with a responsibility to respect the rights of the people around us.