Zooming in on the Power of Photography

April 2024
Written By: 
Ashley Daniels
Photographs by: 
Ashley Daniels & photos courtesy of wikipedia

A Tribute to This Year’s Images of the Grand Strand Photo Contest

A photo flashback circa 8 years ago on the riverfront of Savannah, Georgia, of me with my sons (from left), Xander and Kipton.

They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but I think it’s worth so much more than that. Just take a look at our pages filled with photos from our Images of the Grand Strand photo contest!

I am a writer, so, of course, I am a lifetime advocate for creative expression by way of words, but I appreciate the visual arts via photography that can take your breath away by its splendor or horror, make you laugh, make you blush, or make you cry. Although I will still argue that written details can caption the undertones and layers of the moments undetected by the human eye in a photo that can’t do that true justice.

I know that old photos of my baby boys that pop up on memories that my iPhone so nicely reminds me of have recently brought tears to my eyes. And that power is worth more than a thousand words. That is the beauty of our smartphones that are attached to our hands and can instantly capture every second, every footstep and mile traveled of our lives. 

With that said, here are some interesting photo stats from 2023 for your viewing pleasure: 92.5 percent of all photos are now taken with smartphones, according to Max Spielmann, a camera store located across the U.K.

1.8 trillion photos are taken every year. That’s 5 billion photos a day and 57,246 photos taken per second. Selfies are taken by 95 percent of younger people, 63 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds, and only 44 percent of those over 55. 

Pictured above are photographer Joseph Nicephore Niepce and his photo, “View from the Window at Le Gras.

Every day, 1.3 billion images are shared on Instagram, the reason for the massive rise in photo-taking. Out of those 1.3 billion photos, 100 million are in posts, while more than 1 billion photos are shared in stories or DM’s. The most popular filter? Clarendon.

Interestingly enough, outside of the tech world of picture taking on smartphones and sharing on social media platforms, “retro” disposable camera sales are booming. Fujifilm reports the sales of their brand doubling to 7.5 million since 2015. That’s despite a few apps, like RetroCam and 1998 Cam, that are trying to reproduce the grainy look of photos taken on disposables, rather than the filtered polished results from a smartphone pic. Disposable cameras capture the real and raw moment, they are simple to use, affordable, and accessible.

It’s all come a long way from the first photo that was ever taken in 1826. It took at least eight hours to produce the photo, known as “View from the Window at Le Gras,” a simple scene of the wing of a house, a dovecote, and a barn roof taken by French inventor and photographer Joseph Nicephore Niepce. The experimental process used heliography, which exposes a polished pewter plate that is coated with bitumen of Judea to light and a camera obscura device. 

And now you’ve all learned a little more about the photography of today and yesterday in this View from Here from behind the lens. Congratulations to all of this year’s photography winners and nominees who made this year’s contest stunning. Your eye for capturing all the beauty that the Grand Strand showcases is a talent worth more than a thousand words.