Thursday, July 23, 2015

Put your (camera) phone away

I love taking pictures here in blargistan, but I've got a three-part manifesto on how not to do picture-taking when you're on your vacation-of-a-lifetime:

1. If you're taking pictures in a high-traffic area (and in a place like Paris or Barcelona or Rome or whatever, this is pretty much everywhere in the city), then be courteous of other people who are trying to see something or go somewhere: don't block half of that charming alleyway; don't take so long lining up your shot (it's an iPhone camera, fer chrissakes!) that the nice folks who usually pause to let you get it don't get annoyed because they can't get by you.
This is Blerg City at all times in the summer.

2. I'm starting to feel sorry for selfie-takers. Not because they are all alone. Quite the opposite, actually: most people I've seen taking selfies are with groups of people, or in pairs. So why not ask your friend? Or better yet, a stranger? And for the love of all that is holy, that selfie stick thing? Trust me: some day, you're gonna feel totally embarrassed that you owned one.

3. Going to a place full of gorgeous architecture? Fabulous art? Consider leaving the camera in your bag. A recent study suggests that you remember more about what you've seen when you just interact directly with all that stuff around you.

Of course, this may seem strange coming from someone who posts loads of pictures on her blog (when she posts at all). I love photography. And I love using the blog (and yes, even Facebook) to broadcast my observations on things. The irony of this post is not lost on me. But I'm gonna hold firm anyway: sometimes it's time to put down the camera (just like putting down the smart phone) and experience whatever incredible moment we find ourselves in, rather than obsessively documenting it.


Susan said...

Last winter I was in NYC at the Museum of Modern Art, and was appalled that you couldn't see Van Gogh's Starry Night because of the crowd of young people taking selfies with it in the background. They were not even LOOKING at it!

Comradde PhysioProffe said...

My personal philosophy is "Fucke no am I gonna interrupt my locomotion so somebody can take a picture". Your picture; your problem.

Belle said...

When I was in Africa last year, in my first wildlife park, I just put the camera away and soaked up the scenery and wildlife. There was no way my camera was going to capture what I wanted to remember anyway - that incredible sense of scale and scope, and the intense present-ness of the animals. Of course, the downside is that now I don't have any pictures of them, but... still.

So agree re: selfie sticks. Yargh.

Contingent Cassandra said...

That picture is (sadly) a classic. I especially like the pose of the fellow in the foreground, who appears to be striking a ballet pose while taking a selfie while wearing loudly-patterned shorts. Admittedly only two of the three are considered typical tourist behavior; the ballet pose just adds to the sense of carnival.