Then vs Now

Hello World:

Go outside, be present with the people you love when you’re with them, or go make something. Staring at your little screen isn’t doing anything for you.”

Take a look at the fascinating photo comparison on the linked web site. What do you think? Does the 2013 photo represent a good thing, a bad thing or just the nature of the world we live in?

  • def4

    Nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

    It’s a choice. Make yours and let other make theirs.

  • accidentaldesign

    This photo has been seriously doing the rounds and I haven’t yet seen anyone comment on the truth of it: More people use their phones to take photos than they used to. Because of this there are more people taking photos.

    The contrast is striking mostly because of the time the photo was taken.

    In the 2005 photo the crowd is simply waiting. There is nothing interesting to photograph so nobody has raised their cameras. It is not dusk so lit screens aren’t as visible. You can still be sure that there will be a lot of cameras in that crowd.

    In the 2013 photo the crowd is no longer waiting and they have all raised their cameras to take photos. It is dusk and so we see a lot of lit screens. In this depth of field we can’t tell the difference between screen light from cameras or smart phones.

    • “In the 2005 photo the crowd is simply waiting. It is not dusk. There is nothing interesting to photograph…. “

      You assuming facts not in evidence. As the photo doesn’t show what the people are looking at in 2005, you can’t assume they aren’t looking at anything.

      “You can still be sure that there will be a lot of cameras in that crowd.”

      You can see someone in the lower right using a camera phone and at least two other people looking at what appears to be some kind of small screen – perhaps a P&S camera.

      “we can’t tell the difference between screen light from cameras or smart phones.”

      What relevance does the type of device they may or may not be using have?

      • accidentaldesign

        I thought it was obvious. In 2005 people are mingling, many talking to and looking at each other. In 2013 there is no mistaking that all eyes are on the event that they’re crowded there to see.

        There will be a lot of cameras in the 2005 photo because people bring cameras to important events. You don’t see them because there’s not much to photograph because nothing really happening.

        The type of device the screens are attached to is relevant to the commentary most people seem to be making about this photo. A lot of people are jumping to the conclusion that they’re all phones. The reality is that in that light and blurred focus you can’t tell at all.

        • “I thought it was obvious.”

          It’s not as obvious as you seem to believe. There are plenty of people in the 2005 shot looking at….something….so your assertion that “there’s not much to photograph” is not a given.

          “A lot of people are jumping to the conclusion that they’re all phones.”

          Perhaps elsewhere but no one here has. The type of device being used has no real relevance.

          • accidentaldesign

            You sound defensive Shawn so I should point out that I didn’t mean to give the impression that I was commenting on anyone’s conclusions here on The Loop (either yourself or other commenters).

            My point is that the two photos aren’t taken in the same place at the same point in time (Pope’s appearance) so there are broad differences in the images just due to this fact that make any cultural conclusions (that others are making) seem like they’re completely ignoring it.

            The crowd in 2005 honestly looks like they’re moving towards the square, it’s a narrow street. Plenty of people looking at friends, the ground, the back of the person in front of them. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that the Pope hadn’t yet appeared when that photo was taken. There are plenty of disinterested people and nobody in the crowd who thought to bring a camera with them to photograph the occasion.

          • “You sound defensive Shawn”

            You can’t hear me so don’t assume you know how I “sound”. Just read the words on the screen and don’t parse them any further or assume things. 🙂

            “My point is that the two photos aren’t taken in the same place at the same point in time (Pope’s appearance)”

            And my point is you have no evidence the photos aren’t what they purport to be.

            You might as well argue the photos aren’t even taken in St Peter’s Square. That’s the logical extension of you assumptions.

            I’m done. Thanks. Have a good day.

    • Miles

      I was just coming here to post the same thing. It’s a rigged photo and nothing to get sad about. People are taking a photo of a big event, same thing they’ve been doing for decades.

      • “It’s a rigged photo…”

        Got an evidence of that assertion?

        • Miles

          As others have said, you can see the difference in tone quite easily. In one everyone is milling about, looking around, no one has a camera out. In the other everyone is obviously recording something. It’s been misrepresented.

      • I Imagine it would be quite a scoop if you could actually provide evidence that two different flash mobs were organized 8 years apart in order to let some blogger post his rose colored sadness.

  • Phil Turner

    2014: people holding their glasses (or watches) above their heads to get a better angle.

  • Nature of the world.


    I am tired of the whining about other people being “lost in their digital worlds” because for one, I have never been in more contact with people scattered all over the world including reconnecting to lost friends and acquaintances at any point in the past thanks to the ubiquity of modern communication devices. Never mind new friends and acquaintances with whom I can share the most esoteric bit of trivia and know it connects immediately to a shared experience.

    For two, the way some people write, you would think the world was a gods damned 1950s musical at all times before the modern cell phone, complete with street vendors handing apples to kids willy nilly and dance numbers breaking out every time a car with a loud radio drove by. The reality is that people are just as isolated/gregarious and insular/cosmopolitan now as there were previously, it’s just that now they have a dead simple way to avoid eye contact on public transit. As opposed to having fake keen interest in an ad for government services.

    As an aside, I found myself setting up some media sharing options in my basement entertainment system the other night (AppleTV) and ended up watching more than a dozen 30 second to two minute videos of my daughter as a toddler, preserved by the ubiquitous smartphone (that some are insisting is ruining socialisation) and automatically backed up to my computer without my regular intervention. The knowledge that these moments, impossible to so easily capture and share 30 years ago, were instantly and widely shared with parents and grandparents who didn’t even have to be on the same continent, never mind the same city block, made me grateful for these dead simple to use technologies.

  • And let me add…

    “This makes me incredibly sad.”

    Fuck off.

    • OK…knock it off, Shadow. You’ve been pissy all over The Loop today and it’s time to take a break.

      • Seeing as how I follow you on Twitter, Shawn, I will take being “pissy” as a compliment.

        Smiley face.

        • Take it any way you’d like. I’m telling you the pointless, offensive attacks on other commenters here on The Loop need to stop.

          • Whut?

            Yeah, we’ll leave the pointless, offensive attacks on other commenters up to you Shawn

          • Two things:

            1) Man up and use a real name. If you want to be snide, at least have the courage to put your name to it.

            2) Please point out where I have made pointless, offensive attacks directed at The Loop commenters.

          • 2) Please point out where I have made pointless, offensive attacks directed at The Loop commenters.

            To the thin skinned, being told they are in error or should back up their claims is an attack.

          • Now I don’t know exactly what you are talking about, seeing as how the “Fuck off” comment was not directed at anyone on or even associated with the Loop.

          • My apologies. I took your comment as being directed at the poster above you. I see you weren’t directing at anyone on The Loop.

          • Accepted but not necessary, Shawn. You are merely operating with due diligence regarding the atmosphere here on the Loop. I fully expect you to call me on my behaviour when you feel it is necessary.

          • I appreciate that but I still feel bad for castigating you unnecessarily simply because I wasn’t paying attention.

            I HATE when I do that….

          • Well, now that this is cleared up we should get back to the fray, lest a lurker be led to believe we are reasonable people at our cores…

  • The problem with the picture is that one was taken when the pope was on the balcony, the other wasn’t. Guess which one is which.

    • People keep making these claims and yet no one seems to want to back them up.

      • It’s called common sense. Almost everyone had a compact camera in 2005, which also have lcd screens on the back. Do you think that no one thought to take their cameras with them in 2005, but happen to have their phone in 2013?

  • rmcq

    Oh dear.

    This is the sorry state of “journalism”, and a perfect example of why social “media” just makes me sad. The first image is of a crowd waiting to see a fucking dead body (John Paul II). As if anyone would be taking photos of that. The second photo is one people witnessing the appearance of a new celebrity (Pope Francis I). Of course everyone’s taking photos in the second image, and no-one is taking photos in the first image.

    And now I’m counting down for the social media backlash over how people were tricked…

    If someone wants to comment on whether the fact that everyone now carries a camera in their pocket means that everyone takes videos of stuff, fine. But it’s not particularly newsworthy.

    Sure, the privacy issue of everyone having a camera on their face is important. This latest meme is just ridiculous.

    • “The first image is of a crowd waiting to see a fucking dead body (John Paul II).”


      “I’m counting down for the social media backlash over how people were tricked…”

      I’ll be the first one to own up to it if you have any proof of what you are saying.

      • rmcq
        • Yup. You’ve shown the pics are of two different events, not just at different times.

          But that doesn’t validate the rest of your arguments.

          • rmcq

            I guess it doesn’t, in an of itself. But it certainly invalidates any by-default comparison of the two totally independent and unrelated events. Well, apart from the fact they’re both in Rome and both involve a Pope (albeit one dead and one alive).

            If my memory serves me correctly, a vast majority of phones in 2005 had a camera, in fact camera quality was a distinguishing feature between phones. The original iPhone itself was criticised partly because of the poor quality of its camera.

            In defence of my argument I point you to the Flight of the Conchords episode entitled “Mugged”.

            Take that information, and then add the following.

            The people in the first photo had nothing to take a picture of. They were waiting in line to get close to something that they could take a picture of. There was no reason for the vast majority of those people to take a photo.

            The people in the second photo, well, they wouldn’t get an opportunity for a better shot. They were in the money-shot moment there and then.

            These two photos demonstrate the differences in an event, they do not at all demonstrate a change in camera-phone ownership. If NBC had chosen to present two photos of the same event (the Pope appearing on the balcony), then perhaps we could have drawn some conclusion from the photos. But the two photos as presented tell us absolutely nothing about social change in the last 8 years.

  • Steven Fisher

    Oh, look. Everyone has a camera now! And they’re using them!


  • SV650

    One poster needs learn the skill of critical thinking rather than jumping to conclusions. The posts here are just too similar to the “Google kills a donkey” debacle of a couple of months ago. I, for one, appreciate those discerning readers of the Loop who can view information objectively, and correctly (and accurately) interpret the information presented.

  • Moderation in all things is a wise course. People need to strike a balance between watching their kids play and taking pictures of them playing, between tweeting about how awesome the concert they’re attending is, and actually enjoying that concert. Still, pricks who act as if the digital world is beneath them are freakin’ insufferable.

    The people in that picture probably camped out all day in that plaza, waiting for white smoke and a new pope. At the culmination of that wait, they’re going to want a picture, if only to prove to other people that they were actually there. There’s nothing “sad” about that.

    I’m glad Sam learned how to turn off his notifications. Now if he could just turn off his judgmental attitude, he’d be surprised how much nicer the world can be. Crazy, right?

  • It’s a fine and optimistic thing

  • Fairlite

    Having read the story and then read some of the comments and of course some of the vitriolic exchanges taking place I can’t help feel a sense of Irony. The point being that I wonder if these little flame wars are taking place over mobile devices. Naturally keyboard warriors and and the internet go hand in hand but, if some of the exchanges that are seen these days online were to happen in a real social environment then for the most part someone would likely be walking away with a black eye or a bruised jaw. That there is what makes me sad. Unnecessary arguments and antagonism taking place behind the digital veils of anonymity.

  • Terry

    And right below the photo are links to social media

  • WTF… the site has been ‘Loopified.’ It’s puking up an Access Denied error.

    This is seriously going to mess up my whole day! 😉

  • He’s talking about the guy taking a photo/video with his tablet, right?