Photography is a flat way to capture a moment and feeling without any need for external justification that other forms of capture require. A video requires direction, a theatrical recreation requires actors, an art piece requires an artful recreation and all mediums rely on perception and skill to drive the result. Many amateur photographers and tourists use the lens of a camera as their eyes to see what they cannot perceive on their own.
I don’t often take pictures of things, there are likely better pictures taken of whatever I’m looking at. If I can’t capture an object in a new, insightful, or personal way I’d rather just spend my time examining the physicality that a 2D image can’t relay. In the word of Susan Sontag, “[Photography helps] people to take possession of space in which they are insecure.” When one doesn’t understand something, or is visually overstimulated the natural reaction is to take a photograph to remember to perceive later. It’s a way to “certify experience” or help with “disorientation” of traveling as a tourist. There are, however, artful uses of photography. More specifically, photography of students wandering around museums or on a boat has an artful application beyond just cataloging and proving our existence in a moment of time.
I was photographed a lot but I wasn’t playing anything up for the camera, I wasn’t sitting in the front row for any reason other than I like to sit in the front row to experience things un-inhibited. This made me a prime subject to be in the way of shots. Hopefully one day I’ll end up in a beautiful pamphlet next to other enthralled students and retellings of the glorious FIE’s ability to be better than other study abroad institutions. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing, this is an artful thing. Pamphlets make people feel, video retellings of another students feelings about FIE as an institution is beneficial and helps other people empathize. Seeing a picture creates one feeling, but having a story and a selling point changes a photo from visual sensory experience to a memorable empathetical experience for someone else.
It is for the benefit of FIE and it is an artful representation of an experience. Unless you have anything to hide, nothing is wrong with immortalizing oneself for the benefit of an enjoyable institution. People often feel the need to play up ones experience as a means of creating a false preferable pretense for empathy but one should just take it as an immortalization of a moment and let it happen naturally. Good use of photography are photos that can go beyond its inhibitions as a medium.