Tag Archives: The Age of the Image

Notes on Living in a Picture Perfect World


My confession: I’ve sort of spent the last two days being wooed by a rival social media site, namely Instagram. From what I gather, it’s like Twitter but for the illiterate.

Okay, that’s a bit cruel. What I should say, instead, is that people on Instagram use pictures to communicate rather than words. My heartfelt apologies to the illiterate, by the way, also. (Oops, consider the irony if you will that I just spelt illiterate incorrectly, twice! Thank goodness, for autocorrect.)

Whatever, there are those among us who are describing our age as the Age of the Image. And, I suppose, I have been experiencing for myself what it is like to swim in a virtual sea of images, without so much as the hint of a narrative thread to cling on to.

In fact, I risked veritably drowning in pixels to conduct my unsponsored research into the allure of Instagram. And, no, I didn’t type anything rude into my search terms, either. In case you were wondering about my moral propriety.

So, what did I discover? Well, if we are indeed in the Age of the Image, we’re all doomed to a permanent state of pre-verbal idiocy. For the work of the Wordsworths and Coleridges of the digital form are being lost in the maelstrom of ill-conceived and poorly executed self-portraits teenage girls, for one, feel compelled to upload each time they apply fresh makeup in the mirror, apparently.

There’s a bunch of other stuff clogging up the airwaves, too, obviously, like photographic cholesterol. Pictures of people’s tattoos, pets, pectoral muscles, phony gangster poses and, argh, just stuff. Societal detritus.

All right, so I’m starting to worry this is making me sound like an elitist cybersnob. Who’s to say a photo of someone’s belly button piercing isn’t on par with Beethoven’s 5th, 6th or 9th, for that matter?

It’s probably simply the generation gap/chasm widening again the way it does, I know. But when are we going to start seeing the Stravinskys of snapshots or the Ibsens of Instagram, I wonder?