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Casual Photography
By SARAH JONES 218 views

A Portrait of Casual Photography – Origin, Art, and Current Use

Clicking photos and taking pictures is an almost unwitting part of our lives today. Whenever a beautiful scenic view is witnessed, whenever a family gathering is addressed, there is always someone who goes, Quick, take a pic!

In olden times, when taking a picture took hours, photography was used more for the study of light itself. With the invention of the magic lantern—the first version of what we now call a projector—photography began to be used for entertainment.

The aura of magic and wonder that surrounded these inventions cannot truly be sensed today. Today, we are far beyond the magic of a picture that takes hours to form and yet fades after only a few days. Today, we have camera lenses inside our smartphones, laptops, professional cameras, and whatnot.

This article will go into detail to answer questions like: are we going too far when we call photography an art? Why has taking pictures started getting more priority than experiencing what we take a picture of? So let’s get the ball rolling.

The Beginning of Photography


It all began when the Arab scholar Ibn-Al-Haytam (945-1040) began the study of optics. In trying to understand the workings of our eyes, he created a camera obscura to demonstrate how light can reflect and be cast on a surface. This camera reflected light onto the surface the way a tiny projector would. Many artists began using this to help them paint real-life paintings. With the advent of finely crafted lenses by the mid-1600s, the magic lantern became all the rage; used for mass entertainment.

Then came the heliographs. It was Joseph Nicephore Niepce who developed the first photograph using the camera obscura. He put a metal plate coated with Asphalt under an engraving and exposed it to light. The light passed through the engraving and reacted with the metal plate, creating a heliograph of the engraving. Some darker places in the engraving didn’t let light pass, but the whiter places did. It was an overall successful attempt and was recorded as history’s first photographic image. This image, however, took around eight hours to capture and faded away soon enough. Later inventions in the following century finessed and mastered the device such that we can now tap a screen, and there ya go a digital photograph!

Why is Photography considered an Art?


Photographs are so common today that the average U.S. citizen clicks 20 pictures a day. Imagine that. Most of these are pictures of food or selfies of friends.

After the rapid popularity of photography, it began being considered an art. Hold your horses, not the casual photography that inclines Americans to click 20 pictures a day and is clicked only to gain tiktok likes. Photography is an art when an image is clicked with passion and with an acute understanding of proper exposure, aesthetics, and proportion.

Art is all about that which is pleasing to the eyes, heart, and mind. A painting is considered art because it ignites something in our senses and emotions. The same is the case with literature, poetry, dance, and, yes, photography.

Our everyday pictures cannot be considered art. Art is when a photographer brings into frame elements that align together and have an effect on the viewer. It’s a craft, not a cakewalk.

What Casual Photography Looks Like Today


Today, photography is more a parasite than an aesthetic art. Surely, the type of photo-clicking casually carried out by non-photographers today cannot even be called photography. It is less of an issue because of its degraded quality—though that is an issue aplenty—and more so because of what it means for the lifestyle of the youth of today.

More value is placed on what a person’s life looks like on social media than what it is really like. Youngsters go to expensive restaurants today simply to post it online. They click a multitude of selfies when they meet so that their stories look interesting enough and yet do not give real-time to their friends at all.

However, it would be an unfair description if there was no mention of the positive side of things. TikTok and reels have led to a global connection that is unlike anything ever witnessed before. The best food places in Asia can be known while sitting in Seattle, props to the pictures and videos taken by youngsters and influencers while visiting these places. Through the casual photography of today, we can witness what the aurora borealis looks like.

Casual photography is indeed nothing to shun, but it becomes a matter of grave concern when it exceeds its limits; when people make videos on crosswalks and fall off cliffs while taking selfies. Sure, the view is fantastic. Indeed, it’ll get a lot of views. But making something like a supposed reputation or an image in society a priority over life and well-being is something this generation needs to grow above.

Ways to Do Better

It is to be noted that some sunsets look exquisite, and certain outings deserve a remembrance pic. All this disapproval of abundant casual photography isn’t to say casual photography should be stopped altogether. On the contrary, it is to say that casual photography should be just that—casual. Letting it overpower our own life experiences does more damage than good. It will leave us looking forward to the satisfaction of posting the pictures and receiving praise when the more rewarding bliss can be found right where we are.

Live each moment more and worry about the pictures and what attention they receive later. Click pictures, sure, but finish it within two minutes of the 60 spent.


Photography is an art unlike others, based on a device as it is. Its origins and intentions have long expired, and the photography we click, and view now is far different from what it was, not only in terms of advancement but also in terms of usage and perspective. Today, photography is a tool to achieve validation and self-esteem, whereas before, it was for pure pleasure, entertainment, and a desire to capture aesthetically. In conclusion, there is a need for the young to be less high on social media and more so on nature and the living world around them.

Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones is a writer who loves demystifying technology. With a knack for clear explanations, she helps readers understand even the trickiest tech topics.

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