Photographs are no longer sentimental treasures, valuable personal memories or first drafts of history, but they are now rather comparable to visual talk or cell-phone chatter. The medium’s inherent banality and functionality are emphasized by the ways we produce, store, disseminate, and discard images. There are moments when photographs fulfil their function perfectly: when they are used to merely document something for the sake of documentation, without any aesthetic, formal, or emotional value ascribed to the image as an object. Just as a computer would mine a photograph and its metadata in order to complete a task.
I was at a bar and needed WiFi. The bartender didn’t remember the password, but he told me where to find it: on the bottom of the router. Instead of awkwardly trying to read the tiny numbers on the label in the dark while at the same time typing the password into my small smartphone keyboard, I decided to just take a picture of the label. I could go back to my seat, zoom into the image, and enter the sequence into my phone. The photograph lost its value immediately after my cellphone picked up the WiFi.