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Everyone's a photographer

Everyone has a camera in their pocket, their cell phone. But just because you can take a picture of just about anything at any time, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you are in a Starbucks and you have a camera, doesn’t mean you should take a picture of your cup of coffee and post it online somewhere.

Such behavior twenty years ago would warrant incarceration in a mental institution, today it is common place. At the Giro d’Italia recently, German sprinter Marcel Kittel won a stage, and briefly collapsed at the roadside, to catch his breath. A young fan took it upon himself to take a “Selfie” with the temporarily incapacitated Kittel. (See above picture.)

I doubt he asked permission first, and even if he had, did Marcel Kittel have the breath, or fully functioning brain to even grasp what was happening? And what is the purpose of this exercise? Does taking one’s picture with a famous person, somehow cause that person’s fame to rub off on the picture taker.

The other point that seems to be missed, is while everyone is so busy filming or taking pictures they are missing out on the actual event that is taking place. We have always had a “Camera” with us, it is called a memory.

I can remember 1951, a long time ago. I was 15 years old and had my first lightweight racing bike. I rode with a friend some 40 or 50 miles to watch the first Tour of Britain bike race. The memory of waiting by the roadside for the race to come by, and seeing the actual riders in the flesh, rather than black and white pictures in a paper, is still fresh in my mind today.

A 15 year old today going out to watch a similar race, will probably whip out his cell phone and record the race as it goes by. He will miss seeing his heroes in the flesh because he will be staring at an image on a tiny screen a few inches across.

Will today’s 15 year old fan have the same vivid memory of the event 63 years from now? I doubt it, and the pictures or video he took will be long gone, lost or deleted along with all the countless other pictures of cups of coffee, and bowls of guacamole.


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Reader Comments (9)

"Will today’s 15 year old fan have the same vivid memory of the event 63 years from now? I doubt it"

I often talk to friends about particular events, that I can recall details and emotions from, that are long gone for them. Why? I have a photo of it - it contains a perfect scene, and I revisit the memory every time I look at the image, bringing back the emotions and keeping them fresh.

They only revisit the memory occasionally, and thus it ebbs a little quicker than mine.

May 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrianmc

"We leave: part of ourselves
We take: sand in our cuffs, rocks, shells,
moss, acorns, driftwood, cones, pebbles

But is the picture a tenth of the thing?
A hundredth?
Is it anything without the smell and salt
breeze and the yellow warmth when
the fog lifts?

Oh! but I got all that, too.
It is exposed for ever on the sensitive
emulsion sheet
Of my mind."

ON THE LOOSE by Jerry and Renny Russell
Page 39 1967

May 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKurt J

Just to be quite clear, when I said "Everyone's a photographer," I was being facetious. Real photography is an art form, but this take pictures of anything and everything, 24/7, just because we can bullshit, produces nothing of real value and does so at the expense of enjoying the actual moment.

May 16, 2014 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

I find it amazing that most people have literally thousands upon thousands of photographs . . . on their cell phones. One GOOD photo is usually enough to bring back wonderful (or not so wonderful) memories.

The older I get the fewer pictures I take and the more I try to simply remember. I think about what we did, what we saw, how we felt, the things we said, the feeling of warm summer air, how a particular cup of coffee tasted, all the things that cannot be captured by a simple photo.

The majority of the time I don't even have a camera with me. Could it possibly be my age!

May 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJim Thurber

Seems Steve Jobs, who has been venerated by almost everyone, created the perfect drug: an addictive device that will do everything for you, and people are damn glad it does.
They are faithful followers of fashion in ways John Lennon never imagined.
Pandora's Box was opened. Even the news media has become trivial with sloppy reportage, lousy camera handling and no hard journalism.
Mediocrity rules!
Do you care? And what the hell you going to do about it anyway?

May 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Regards BrianMc's comment on validity of "real" photos, I think we attach emotions to images afterwards, it is these second hand and often idealised pasts that we revisit each time we look at these photos and I think over the passage of time we lose or forget the nuances of that situation only for it to get replaced by the primary colours of "I was happy" etc, maybe we take comfort from these old images as they then conjure up what are by now very pure distilled emotions, on a more serious note I agree with Dave, "media" of its various forms has become the "eye" through which we view the world

May 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterstef

Sometimes people surprise me... I do not know from where the fashion on photo with stars.

May 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

Some readers have reported this site automatically switching to a log-in page every 30 seconds. (Log-in is for admin only, not readers.) Anyone else had this problem email davesbikeblog[AT]gmail[DOT]com tell me what browser you are using, and any other info would help.
I am not seeing this problem.
Thanks, Dave

May 20, 2014 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

Another thing not mentioned is that people place themselves next to those who have put in all the work and time and luck to accomplish winning, giving them a false sense of having done the same thing without the years and experience necessary.
Like an interview with Peter Sagan the stage he won at the Amgen Tour and he didn't understand several questions. If you saw it you know what I'm talking about. He couldn't and didn't need to answer such questions, but the commentator was sure anyone could have done the same thing as Peter.
Seems everyone is a Hero if you get a "Selfie" with athletes that should be respected.

May 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
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