Life + Stuff: Snappy
Lately I’ve noticed how intrusive photography can be. Whenever anything noteworthy happens, my first reaction is to grab my iPhone.
On a recent group trip to India, twelve cameras would appear every time an elephant, palace or sari-clad villager came into frame. We all started seeing everything as photo opp, a process that interfered with simply being there.
It hit me how disconnecting this was when we arrived at a remote farming village and a group of elderly ladies wandered down the road. Within seconds, shutters were snapping like red carpet paparazzi.
The gap-toothed old women knew they would elicit this response. They posed cheerfully, peering gleefully into digital camera screens.
They dressed up because they knew we were coming and, while there is nothing inherently wrong with that, it compromises the voracity of the experience.
It’s nothing new to rock up to a Hmong village in Northern Thailand and encounter women in neck rings demanding 100 baht per shot. Same goes for little kids in national dress.
It’s just a bit disappointing to think that old ladies are getting in on the act.
It made me aware of the difference between observing with the naked eye and looking through a lens. The presence of a camera doesn’t just change how you see things; it also changes the behaviour of the subject.
Are you a compulsive photographer? Or do you upload it all to your memory?