Do we need to record everything? I have seen people going to famous tourist attractions holding a phone/camera in their hand the whole time they are the site. Are they seeing something through their camera that one cannot see with eyes? Carlin asked, I am paraphrasing “do these people really have time to watch their recorded footage”? but I would go one step further and ask do these people really wish to see these images/videos at some point in their lives? People think they are capturing the moment in their phones, but are they not missing the moment? Let’s assume that people still would like to see their photos at some point of their lives, what would happen if the people get affected by dementia/Alzheimer’s? Would that picture have any value then? A picture would make sense, if it does, only with the associated memories a person has with respect to the picture. Who were there with them, what was the occasion, were they happy when they started to the tour, or were they sad when they visited that particular place, won’t all these count? Seeing a picture taken some ages ago would make no sense without the memories linked to it.
Pictures’ worth is determined by the memory. If this is not the case then wouldn’t it be sufficient to see pictures taken by strangers online? Even in this case, the mindset/mood in which the person was while looking at the strangers’ picture come into play. Furthermore, don’t we miss out being present in the moment if we keep taking pictures and not look with our eyes? Unless one visits a tourist spot just to take pictures, most people would be there in the place once or twice in their lives. Don’t we have to cherish the moments? Earlier when people used to paint, they take in the image, digest it and reproduce it with their interpretation. But now with the technology, we neither digest the landmark nor interpret it.
Technology has made everything accessible. But by doing so, it has pushed one thing that was easily accessible earlier to a distant place, that we might soon lose it. The thing is “Being Present” in the moment. We tend to store everything for future use, but when in reality that future never arrives. Going to a snow clad mountains with clear blue skies and lush green fields afar, would be a sight to behold. How many of us would simply take a deep breath, cherish the moment and move on? Accepted, some people might take photos of such places to show it to their loved ones, but even then aren’t they sacrificing something personal for others’ sake? We can easily get post cards, which would have much more stunning images than the ones taken by us. But we don’t do that. Why?
Going to a natural scenery is a different thing, but being in a room full of people, where one person celebrates her birthday and 4 out 5 people are viewing the celebrations through their phone makes one go crazy. Are you really being there in the moment? Human eyes are most powerful camera in the world. Yet we set those aside and use artificial cameras, which cannot stand a chance against human eyes. Worst cases are those where parents trying to capture their kids’ activities. Kids don’t even have the authority to say No. Parents take it upon themselves force their kids to do ridiculous stuffs so that they can capture their kids and share it with total strangers.
In my opinion, taking photos serve one or all of the following purposes. Photos taken at tourist attractions are merely to show the world we have been there. Photos taken of our loved ones are to show others how we are cherishing our loved ones and if possible make those others feel miserable. I believe photos are one more expression of our narcissistic nature. I wonder what would happen if tomorrow we wake up in a world where we are not allowed to take photos, or better still in a world where we don’t have tools to take a photo. Would we live our lives differently then?
We believe photos help us sail through our meaningless existence and help us silence the crazy thoughts filling our heads. This is one more distraction that we seek to avoid having a real conversation with ourselves. Think about it. We go to a place and see a beautiful painting. If we are told not to take photo of the painting, we would have to force ourselves to look at the painting, think what the painter tries to convey us and may be interpret it in our own ways. The painting might even make us acknowledge our existential angst. To deal with it is much more difficult than simply take a picture and move on. We move on or at least pretend to move on rather than stop and reflect on our existence.
In Short : To those who don’t have patience to read the entire article
Photos don’t make sense unless you have associated memories
We completely miss “Being There” when we take photos
Taking photos is one more distraction from our terrifying but meaningless existence
I too fall in the category of people who capture images instead of “Being There”