October 18 2013

A world without photography is too hard to imagine. There would be no rule of thirds, no DSLR’s, and no photoshop. Would we still have many of the same inventions, but resort to animation instead? Would computers resemble the machines we use today.

Some obvious things would be much different. There are no scrapbooks of baby pictures. The nostalgia of your childhood videos are no longer. And selfies are real self-portraits, and not the blurry, poorly lit products they are today. What are some other things that would change in a world without photography? Here’s a few:

Social Media

Facebook certainly wouldn’t be very popular. Unless the lack of photography allowed all of us to become excellent freehand artists, we probably wouldn’t upload too many images of our food for all our friends to see. You can forget about instagram, pinterest, vine, flickr, photobucket, and sadly, H&H Color Lab too. We would probably have to pay an artist to draw up an avatar of us for Twitter.

the world without photography

the world without photography

the world without photography

the world without photography

The Economy

What about the economy? The 139,500 photographers employed in 2010 would have to find another profession. Not to mention all of the jobs completely dependant on photography like makeup artists, film producers, models, and actors. That’s a lot of unemployment.

The full economic effect of a world without photography would be a fascinating subject to cover. What else would we be doing? For one, the entertainment industry would be a fraction of its size today. There are only so many people that are needed for law enforcement, landscaping, and basket weaving. Think about the passions you have outside of the photography industry. Chances are, your outside passions are probably heavily influenced by photography. And no, hiking through Europe isn’t a profession.

Entertainment

All of our media would be animated. I hope you like cartoons, because that’s the only thing you’ll find on television. Can you imagine your favorite tv shows turned into an animated series? Even though cartoons have had a tremendous track record of success, characters like Walter White might be much less intimidating in animated form.

History

Don’t forget about the visions of history and the distant world we are so privileged with. We would only have a vague idea of the world that came before us. Paintings and drawings would be the only way to visualize the ancient pyramids of Egypt without visiting them in person.

You would have no idea what your ancestors looked like. Well, you’d have somewhat of an idea. They probably looked a little like you! Does everyone say you look a little like Grandma Rose? You’d have to take their word for it.

Remembering Faces

The “I can’t remember names, only faces.” people would never remember you. In fact, most of us are those people. Scrolling through our high school yearbook every few years is the only way we would remember some of our classmates. The name rings a bell, but the face triggers the memories.

There’s a perfectly good reason we use photo identification. The use of photo ID’s have made it exponentially more difficult to claim an identity that isn’t yours. Teens would be able to effortlessly sneak into bars with a non-photo driver’s license.


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