With this sudden appearance of cold and wet autumn weather, a natural occurrence comes back into our lives. I call this the ‘I’d-really-rather-not-go-outside-into-the-cold-and-the-rain’ phenomenon. A perfectly reasonable if not incredibly logical response to external stimuli. And while we’re all safely tucked inside our comfortable homes underneath soft blankets with a warm beverage in our hands, there’s only one question left: what exactly do we do now? The answer comes in many forms: one might enjoy the excellent streaming services Netflix has to offer, or you can be more old school and actually enjoy a good book. What many people do, however, is neither of these things. That’s right: the season of mindlessly scrolling through different social media platforms has begun![1] What is more relaxing then looking at (for example) pictures of beautiful places with much nicer weather? To look at sun soaked beaches or, perhaps more appropriately, at breath-taking pictures of an Indian Summer? Flaming reds and yellows and overwhelming amounts of orange fill our tiny little screens, making us perhaps a tiny bit excited about autumn. Orange is the ultimate Fall colour after all. Until we look outside that is and see our much more grey and brown Dutch autumn colours.

Looking at social media’s most beautiful Fall photos, I came upon an unanswerable question. All these photos looked absolutely stunning and extremely professional to me, but I am just a layman. I don’t know how these things work, because I’m not well versed in the art of photography. I have dabbled in some amateur photography, as I’m sure we all have, but that doesn’t give me a lot of knowledge in this profession. The photographs looked beautiful to me, but I was still curious about their value. When does a photograph become art? A photo can be aesthetically pleasing, but does that make it art? Some people would probably argue that it depends on exclusivity. Art has always been very elitist after all. So how can a photograph that has been shared on social media be considered art? In this digital realm of the World Wide Web, anything can be stolen. The same picture that I see on Instagram –and which is advertised to be an original, one of a kind photograph made personally by this person who runs the account- could also be seen on for instance Pinterest or any other social media platform and there be said to be an original by yet another person with an account. The digital age gives so much opportunity and freedom, which can be amazing, but it also opens up the door for plagiarism. Of course there are systems in place for those sorts of nefarious copying practices, but one thing I’ve learned from my time on the Web, is that there is a loophole for everything. How can originality possibly survive? Now of course I don’t have the answer to these questions; I’m just here to ask them and perhaps annoy you with doubts. Personally, for me, art can be anything; that is the beauty of art. I know a lot of people don’t agree with me on this –my mother being one of them- but I think that that freedom gives art an extra beautiful shine. But for now, lets not discuss all these intense questions. Lets just look at the pretty pictures of autumn leaves and perfect sunshine. It’s cold outside.


[1] For the sake of accuracy I must add that I realize that people don’t suddenly cease to pursue this mind-numbing activity in other seasons. What I mean is that because of this ‘stay-indoors’ weather the amount of time spent online will increase severely.

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