Shutterbug nation

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An infographic in this month’s issue of National Geographic caught my attention shortly after I came back from the Smokies about the growth of digital photography.

It’s not available online, unfortunately, but it was a fascinating reminder of what hobbyists and vacationers have known for some time: people are taking a lot of pictures these days! In 2006, Americans took 53 billion digital photographs (that’s 177 per person). In 2011, the number had grown to 80 billion (or 255 per person), and by 2015 it is projected to be 105 billion.

I’ve certainly enjoyed taking my fair share of pictures, yet I try not to take too many, because I often feel like people are too busy photographing things to actually, you know, experience them. This is especially true at parties; I remember, a few years ago, being at the closing night of a legendary New York bar, and thinking I must be the only one who wasn’t documenting the event for posterity.

That said, in Tennessee, I only hesitated for a moment before I joined a row of people who were trying to take a picture of a mama bear and her cub down a hill to the side of the road. (I would love to have more bear pictures.) In the end, it was too dark to get a good shot from so far away, but it was still thrilling to have spotted them.

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