Memories Must Be Captured: The Teen Obsession With Documenting Our Lives


Jill Yoder

Capture it All: In the midst of the obsession with documenting our lives on social media, Warriors like sophomore Chloe Walker have found older photography technology like film cameras to be more their style.

From Snapchat memories to Instagram stories, photography has a tight grip on the lives of Gen Z kids. While not everybody is a “photography genius,” the technology we have access to allows us the freedom to not be a professional, while still loving photography itself. 

Teenagers these days have the unique opportunity to document our lives in a moment’s notice, whenever we see fit. If our friend does something funny, then we have a new memory to save in Snapchat. If we see a pretty sunset, there’s another five pictures to add to the thousands already taking up the majority of our phone’s storage. 

But why is it so important to us? Maybe it has a deeper meaning, that we have a fear of moving on and forgetting our experiences. Maybe it has to do with social standards, showing the highlights of your life off to the world in hopes of seeming as interesting as your peers. Or maybe it’s as simple a reason as the fact that we can. We have the technology, so why not? At this point it’s become a habit, just part of life. Our pictures are our memories and we treasure them. “Everything happens so fast and it sometimes feels like time doesn’t even exist,” said sophomore Chloe Walker. “Pictures and videos let us capture a fraction of a moment and are evidence of our experiences.”

It’s not all “new technology” that has made this epidemic of photography so popular. Along with the love for iPhones, older photography technology is regaining its crowd of fans. Film cameras, whether disposable or advanced, have become one of the most popular trends in recent years. As film lovers always say: ‘there’s just something about film.’ This argues against the assumption that the only reason for the splurge in photography is the accessibility of it, because now people are opting for one of the least accessible options, simply for the aesthetic of it. “It’s just so cool. It allows us to capture those moments in a photograph without having to use technology or our phones,” Walker said.

To tie this all into the bigger problems of society, does our love for technology – whether old or new – hinder our ability to live in and fully appreciate each moment? Does snapping a picture of the sunset or videotaping the walk into the Olympic stadium – as many people love to criticize athletes for – detract from a person’s ability to appreciate a moment? There is no real answer to this question. Some people love to live through their memories alone, while others prefer the opportunity to relive their experiences whenever they please by opening up an app on their phone. “I think taking pictures definitely hinders our ability to live in the moment,” said freshman Adeline Briggs. “Constantly being on our phones, no matter what it’s for, distracts us from the present.”

Whether a good thing or a bad thing, photography allows the most nostalgic of us to take a trip down memory lane whenever we feel so inclined. Although photography is sure to change and grow in coming years, the beauty of it has been discovered and it is not likely to be forgotten.