25th January 2023, Kathmandu

Many demographic researchers refer to the current generation of young people as Gen Z. The Pew Research Center defines Generation Z as people born between 1997 and 2012.

The oldest members of this generation are approaching the age of 25, with many having graduated from college, married, and starting families. They are the generation that follows the millennials (born between 1981 and 1996). As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of Generation Z face a future that is more uncertain than that of many previous generations.

Gen Z, also known as the iGeneration or the post-Millennial generation, is the demographic cohort that follows the Millennials. Born between 1997 and 2012.  Gen Z is the first generation to have grown up with smartphones, social media, and the internet as a ubiquitous presence in their lives.

Gen Z is the new point-and-shoot generation

One way this is manifesting itself is in Gen Z’s approach to photography. In the past, photography was a deliberate and often time-consuming process. The film had to be loaded into cameras, settings adjusted, and shots meticulously composed. With the advent of digital photography and smartphones, however, taking a photo has become as easy as pointing and shooting.

This ease of use has increased the number of photos taken and shared on social media. Gen Z is the most digitally native generation, having grown up with the internet and social media as integral parts of their lives. They are the first generation to have the ability to document their lives in real time. And share them with their friends and followers on social media platforms.

This has led to a culture of over-sharing and a constant need for validation through likes and comments. Gen Z is also known for its artistic and creative approach to photography, which includes experimenting with filters, angles, and editing tools to create one-of-a-kind images. Many of them also use their smartphones as primary cameras, making photography more accessible and convenient than ever.

However, this convenience comes with a trade-off. The instant gratification and ease of use of digital photography and smartphones have led to a decrease in the value placed on a single photo.  This can also lead to a lack of attention to composition, lighting, and other technical aspects of photography.

Additionally, the constant pressure to document and share every moment can also lead to a lack of privacy and a loss of authenticity. This generation is growing up in a world where their every move is being recorded and shared online, putting them under pressure to present a curated and idealized version of themselves to the world.

What’s up with the kids?

It’s easy to notice our strange fondness for retro technology as young people. The new fascination with flip phones speaks to me deeply, and I can see the appeal. Our lives have become so digitally intertwined that it is detrimental to our physical and mental health.

For the majority of their lives, young people have had constant access to the entire world, every single day.  The simplicity of a flip phone, with only the bare necessities and nothing more, is very appealing.

A sense of longing may also motivate the revival of old-school technology. We’ve seen ‘Y2K’ fashion go viral on the internet. Wired headphones make a brief comeback, and vinyl is still on the rise. Gen Z has become pessimistic about the unrelenting march of modern technology and connectivity.

We can safely predict that the retro tech trend will continue, with younger generations adopting more and more ‘vintage’ technology. This is the first step in my unplugging journey, and I’m excited to experiment and disconnect.

Finally, the convenience and instant gratification provided by digital technology and smartphones define Gen Z’s relationship with photography.

They are a highly tech-savvy generation that is comfortable with the constant documentation and sharing of their lives on social media.

However, this ease of use has led to a decrease in the value placed on a single photo and the pressure to present a curated version of themselves online.

As the generation grows and evolves, it will be interesting to see how their relationship with photography develops.


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