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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 a few years ago, 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 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 68 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 (4)

They do it because " It's all about Me Me Me" !!!!!!!!!! and they have no life other than their phone.

May 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Often thought this myself. Trying to get the ideal shot and you loose what's actually happening. Being in the moment is best. I remember George Carlin's comment on instant photo finishing, "Ya just saw the fuckin' thing!"

May 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterWalt

I've been an amateur photographer since the 1960s. Mostly car races, some motorcycle and bike races. I've practically watched whole races through a viewfinder. I did my own developing and printing and have great pictures of world famous competitors. Today everybody is a "photographer" with their cell phones. They're even "videographers", making vertical videos that only make sense to other cell phone users. I used to take my camera to music concerts and post pictures and videos. I don't bother anymore because just about everyone there is taking cell phone pictures and videos, some of which are actually quite good, provided they know which way to hold their "camera".

May 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

I wish the last word of the article wasn't "guacamole". I now want some guacamole.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAdrian Furniss

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