There’s no question that technology has crept far more deeply into our everyday lives in the past eight years between the election of Pope Benedict XVI and that of his successor, Pope Francis. A composite image has been making its way around the Internet that appears to juxtapose images of the throng in St. Peter’s Square in 2005 during the announcement of Pope Benedict’s election with the audience present during that of Pope Francis.
But here’s thing, the photos weren’t taken at those times.
Post photojournalist Nick Kirkpatrick did a little digging and found that the lower photo (shown below this paragraph), which features a sea of smartphones and tablets, was, indeed, taken during the announcement of Pope Francis’s election. But the top photo (shown above), which shows an audience with far fewer gadgets was taken during the funeral procession of Pope John Paul II — a very different mood and event type. There was no one addressing the crowd from the balcony, for example. So, the comparison isn’t quite accurate.
Other images, taken during the announcement of the election of Pope Benedict roughly two weeks after the funeral show a number of recording devices — camcorders and digital cameras. It’s a small, but arguably notable difference.
Smartphones were not, of course, as prevalent as they are today. A sea of iPhones in 2005 would have been impossible, given Apple didn’t introduce the first iPhone until 2007. But people were still recording the moment in droves, and gadgets were then, as they are today, held high in the air.
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