BBC BLOGS - Viewfinder
« Previous | Main | Next »

No longer just for birthdays, holidays or Christmas

Phil Coomes | 11:28 UK time, Monday, 20 September 2010

Pope Benedict XVI travels along the Mall in his popemobile to attend a prayer vigil in Hyde Park on 18 September 2010

If anyone doubted that we are all photographers now, surely this frame by Peter Macdiarmid of Getty Images proves the point.

For the past few days I have been editing pictures for our coverage of the Pope's visit, and so have been glued to the desk watching the photographs arrive from the news wire agencies. There have been plenty of great pictures taken, some of which you can see in our coverage.

But looking at this one frame it's clear that virtually everyone in the shot is holding a camera or cameraphone. In this one small section of the route the Pope travelled in his popemobile through London, I can see more than 50 cameras. Each person probably took at least half a dozen frames, some considerably more.

I don't want to get into the debate about pro vs amateur, or quality issues regarding cameras - or indeed the threat to professional photography.

What really interests me is the way people use pictures. Yes, they are still a record of our daily lives, and of historic moments, but they are also used in the way words once were.

They are conversations. The picture doesn't only prove that I was there and saw this, it says this was my experience of the moment. I saw it this way, and now I can share this photo with my friends, either by sending it from a phone or by uploading it to the web where I can express my point of view.

There has always been a healthy amateur photographic movement within the UK, but we have now moved beyond that. And that's great; photography is now a part of many people's lives and something they use as a tool. It's no longer just for birthdays, holidays or Christmas.

A close up view of the crowd as Pope Benedict XVI travels along the Mall in his popemobile to attend a prayer vigil in Hyde Park, 18 September 2010


or register to comment.

More from this blog...

Topical posts on this blog


These are some of the popular topics this blog covers.

    Latest contributors

    BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

    This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.