The final reason for the need to photograph everything lies in the very logic of consumption itself. To consume means to burn, to use up, and therefore the need to be replenished.
As we make images and consume them, we need still more images; and still more. (Susan Sontag)
Of all Sontag's bold statements about photography in many ways this one has the greatest ring of truth. It is so easy to take photographs, to create images in a world where we are already continually surrounded and bombarded by photographs in magazines, newspapers, billboards, the television and, in particular, the net, that it has become equally easy to discard them as if they have no more than superficial value. The most intimate and graphic photographs are so commonplace now, with sexual imagery used to sell even the most banal of commodities, they appear to have no shock value whatsoever. Moreover, when it comes to images of violence we have become frighteningly desensitised to their impact.
Yet, photographs are still taken that make one take a second and third look and then remain in our memory long after we think we will have discarded them. Maybe it is because their beauty appears to transcend the artificiality we see dressed up as beauty all too often. Or because a courageous photographer in a warzone still finds that one image which manages to shock yet also reminds us of man's dignity in the face of adversity. And, just as there are still good Samaritans to be found, so there are still acts of selflessness and kindness to be captured that remind us we are social beings who rely on each other's empathy and compassion.
Therefore, whilst we are still able to sift diamonds from the glass, the true from the fake, the lovingly composed insight from the fast paced, commercially driven paparazzi shot, this level of consumption need not drown us.