The lost value of a photo



While peering back the cover of my grandparents wedding album, I wondered about my own. Would I have these classic, beautifully taken shots, or would there be an over-filtered collection on Facebook; my skin smoothed like a baby’s and my editing stealing the show?

Photography used to be saved for holidays, birthdays and special occasions in between. There was a long wait of three weeks before my parents would head to Boots for the arrival of our developed images. Never did I ponder over the thought that my hair could look messy or I might not look pretty. There was nothing but sheer delight at reminiscing over the memories.

Flash-forward to now and in a few seconds of the cameraman pressing the button to presenting me his work; I tense up in anguish. Even the terror of somebody else capturing my image on their device, worries me about what they will upload.


I wish I could feel more reckless. And I wish that my photos were more natural and charming as my grandmother’s, who appears lost in the moment as she holds on to her dress.

As a teenager, I was known for looking awkward. Everybody would say to me, “Laura you look nervous”. My friend at the time wanted us to pose in the park and I confessed to not knowing what to do with my posture. I must have been 14 when she taught me a variety of elaborate techniques. Since then, I have never quite been able to say cheese without a pose.

As years have rushed by, I have self-learnt my positions. Friends and family have laughed and criticised my ‘vanity’, wrongly informed as the correct term would have been insecurity. In the wave of my ‘acne years’, pictures would cause arguments. I would delete any where spots would make an entrance. Of course my friends were angry as they could not understand.


The modern-world gloriously celebrates a photo. You would not be impressed with a phone that holds a low pixel or one without a selfie camera. It is a rarity to find a mobile without an image app; a young person with no social-media awareness. But how many of these photos are significant? Would you be happy if every image from your Instagram was stored in an album and revisited by family in a later life?

I certainly would shudder. Glancing through my page with the pretend eyes of a stranger, I imagine the word self-absorbed. My first Instagram account could not reach the dizzying heights of 100 followers (my new account has 3.8k). I tried and tried yet to no avail. After giving up, I restarted a few years later and decided to progress my fitness journey. Copying other pages, I switched from all food photos, to mostly one’s of me.


Before I knew it, I was posting daily, robotically taking selfies and editing them with meticulous precision. I started to not think about it much; I simply find a nice or plain background, angle myself and then use this, this, or this filter. Every time I posted, more followers would join and I connected with others. It was merely a step to grow my following. Whether I loved the pictures or liked them, I did not scroll through them with fondness. Only, I did feel proud witnessing my silhouette changes.

I am certainly not against selfies. Recently I have written about them and I still promote them as a genius, digital invention for exercise and diet tracking. I am not saying that I will give them up or think wrongly of those who take them routinely. But when I scroll through, I want to smile at memories. In the midst of the beauty shots and stomach-baring, there needs to be a feeling of life. I want to say what a great photo and not what a great edit.

Instagram does not reflect my time; those closest to me say “don’t upload to Instagram”. It is a normal phenomenon to present just you and your logic.

I did decide on the other hand, to delete 200 photos. Not because I reasoned that I looked bad; more so that the deleted photos are not meaningful. I am left with pictures of makeup looks I love, my own inspirational fitness selfies that keep me going, modelling and everything alongside.


A photographer once informed me that cameras were of a far-higher quality back in the day. Likely, that is why images emerge beautifully. When I am modelling, I soak in the sense that I am appreciating the art of photography. No longer is it me against a white background, trying to figure how to flatter my features. Rather, a trained photographer brings out a character in me that I had not unearthed; they click to something that I cannot see. Perhaps I will eventually submit their work to an at-home photo album.

Ultimately, I wish to revert my fear back to excitement. To edit, but not to be caught up on it. There is an Instagram photo and then a ‘normal’ photo. I want to learn to be grateful for the normal. Below are some completely natural images taken straight from my camera.



Do you think photos have lost value? Is social-media and the pressure of editing, ruining the experience of capturing images? 

Photos are of my grandparents.

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22 thoughts on “The lost value of a photo

  1. I love this! And you are right hey, back in the days, our parents and grandparents never seemed to care much about how they looked, what they were dressed in, how they posed or even how good the quality of the pictures were. All they wanted was to capture the moment. But these days we are really pressured to look good and have the best quality which makes it so hard for some of us who really suck at posing for pictures. I feel beautiful until I pull out the camera to take a selfie. It’s like what I see in the mirror doesn’t correspond with what my camera sees which is why I’d take pictures using Snapchat or simply just edit them.🙈🙊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Digital camera are not as good as film. Back in the day, photography was of higher quality. I actually worked with a photographer who had a lense from the 50’s and it was amazing how different the images turned out.
      Camera phones and digital camera are not as flattering in my opinion. Even the angle on our phones is not the best and because of the pixels, everything seems to show up. So many times I have liked my look but then took a photo and thought huh?!!
      I agree with what you said – “the mirror doesn’t correspond with what my camera sees”. I think we also have a masked view these days of what beautiful is. On Instagram, the most edited photos seem to be the most popular. I think you are very beautiful and I have not seen a bad photo of you, so I don’t think you are bad at posing! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think photos are less appreciated now because you can take an infinite amount of them. Back in the day, you would take one photo, and if it doesn’t come out perfect it wouldn’t be an issue. Now, you take about 10 shots of the same thing, and choose from the bunch. It’s a totally different mentality. It’s not the same anymore. Then on top of that, you can whiten, blur, and filter pictures now. Some aren’t the reality anymore. I don’t hate editing, but I think there is definitely a such thing as too much editing xxx

    Melina |

    Liked by 2 people

    • I used to really over edit. I look back on photographs a few years ago and it looked like I had applied self-tan. I used to increase saturation so high it was ridiculous!
      I could not agree more with you. People even photographers, do not put as much thought in because they know that they are not limited. People were also much more natural back in the day. There was an effortlessness about their poses.
      Sometimes I wish I could be more relaxed because my photos can be so over-posed. And filters can take away the quality. It’s something I am really going to think about now. I just wish phone cameras were better. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You bring such amazing perspectives here that I absolutely agree with! Some of your statements are very profound – yes, there has to be some life in the photo, yes I would like to be grateful for the normal too. Using your grandmother’s pictures really illustrates the point you are making. I too have succumbed to learning techniques to pose well, only to find out I don’t look very natural when I do that …so now I try to achieve the combination of having a good posture yet feeling very natural about the way I hold myself. Loved your post!! I hope we capture more moments carefreely being ourselves!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have to say, I love black and white images as well. Some of the photos of my grandma, I would not be able to create the same black and white tone. I think the cameras were of a much higher quality back then. Nowadays, it is all about digital and speed.
      I think the combination of good posture but feeling natural is perfect. On my next shoot, I want to focus on not looking so ‘posey’.
      I really hope we capture more moments being carefree. I might force myself so I can post about it lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a wonderful post and written in such a lovely way. It really did take me back to the times when we used to collect our photographs using the wind-up Kodak and not once did we think oh I look fat or even question how we looked! I have made a promise to myself to not try to pose nor ask others to when I take pictures, I am merely going to capture the memory as it is xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember kodak’s! I loved taking mine on school trips but usually snapped random images like birds and horses haha! I remember asking my parents to pay and develop them, to literally find the most random photos.
      My friend who is a videographer, told me that film is now very expensive. Digital camera are not as good as the camera used back then.
      I am going to try and capture the memory as it is as well. I noticed just looking at my grandparents photos, I can get a sense of their personalities. I don’t want to be someone who just screams poser! They say a great model is one who does not look like they are modelling. xxxx


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