This paper takes an historical approach modelled on Rebecca Empson’s work to the last five years. Facebook is seen as transitional, since it retains albums and photographs as memory. By Instagram our concept of photography is reversed. Memory is merely legitimation of the image while the focus is on taking photographs as an aspect of experience. The repudiation of tradition is completed by Snapchat where photography becomes an entirely transient act of communication. The paper argues that these are positive developments that takes photography from being a sub-section of anthropology and turns it into an ubiquitous mode of ethnographic encounter more analogous to language. It also questions assumptions that new genres such as the Selfie are signs of increasing superficiality.