Monday, February 8, 2010

Picture Perfect.

You need to stop taking so many pictures. Digital cameras came along and suddenly everyone’s an artist. Everyone loves photography. And because memory is cheap, there’s no discrimination at all with what to take pictures of. People take pictures of everything. It’s always ‘the blurry picture of the street lamp’, ‘the upside down shot of your friend doing a cartwheel’, ‘the sky at night all blurry and shit’, ‘landscape shot number seventeen thousand’ or the dreaded ‘shot of oneself taken with the camera at arms length’. Enough! Use a fucking mirror! I liked when there was a limit on the number of pictures. You’d buy a disposable camera for your vacation, and then you'd get twenty six or seven pictures for the whole trip. And you couldn’t check how they turned out immediately after taking them. You had to wait. Now people are reminiscing about moments just moments after capturing said moment. Stop trying to create needless instant nostalgia!

“Yo, check the picture I just took of that tree.”
“Nice. Nice pic. I remember that tree. Man, good times. We had such good times with that tree, roughly ten to twelve seconds ago.”
“Hey, take a picture of me looking at the picture of the tree. I want to capture how great this new thing is, I never want to forget the experience of remembering the tree.”
“Check out the picture of you checking out the picture of the tree!”
“Awesome, that is so going to be my next Profile Pic, on Farcepoop.”
“Do you want a pic of you checking out the pic of you checking out the pic of you checking out the pic of the tree?

This exchange continued for several more minutes.

And what’s with sharing all of the photos too? It takes away some of the magic, doesn't it? Remember when receiving ‘doubles’ of someone’s pictures used to have a certain amount of meaning? It used to be special. Doubles were a hot commodity. Very few people had doubles of your pictures, and you didn’t have many of others’ artwork either. Most pictures in your albums were your originals. You used to have to really want the doubles, and make a special request.

“Can you get doubles for me? It turns out my disposable camera wasn’t waterproof.”

Still, it was rare that you really gave a shit about getting someone’s doubles. Suddenly with digital cameras not only is everyone taking pictures of everything, but everyone is posting them for everyone to see, and, even worse, everyone wants to see everyone’s pictures of everything, for some strange reason. I mean, at least when someone gave you their doubles, there were only twenty or so pictures, generally. Now people are viewing hundreds of randomly photographed bullshitshots. Sometimes it will be an event that you yourself were also at. And you have your own pictures of it. And still you want to see other peoples’ pictures of the same thing you already have pictures of. Is it that you secretly think that they got some super shot from some super angle that will change your entire life forever?

“Thank God you had your camera there at that time too, because I hadn’t gotten a really good picture of everyone dancing to the Village People’s ‘YMCA’ the second time that they played it. I only had pictures from the first time around. What a great time, now I don’t even have to try and remember what it was actually like, I have the picture.”

All of this is beside the point that, it seems to me, at one time, viewing a slideshow, of someone’s vacation or whatnots, was a drag. Not just a little bit of a drag, but a big fucking drag. You know, like in those campy old sitcoms when the main character, the really super cool good looking person you’re supposed to identify with and think “hey they’re just like me”, gets stuck at the neighbours’ house watching the slideshow of their recent vacation to Niagara Falls, with the big smelly projector and the weird children? And then you know, the regular cool person tries to sneak out the back door but one of the neighbours catches him over in the kitchen near the refrigerator and makes him sit back down on the couch and now they have their arm around them so they’ll never get away and the laugh track just goes bananas? There’s always this super clever witty banter too.

“Gee Wally I sure hope it’s as good as the slideshow of the Poconos” says the main character so sarcastically that it is just insane. “It is. It’s even longer” confirms the wacky nutso-wutso neighbour. “And just when I thought my day couldn’t get any better” says the main character, once again sarcastically, but this time looking directly at the camera, breaking the fourth wall.

Then a fog horn sounds, a beefy laugh track goes off and finally a commercial break comes just when it was getting so good and funny and hilarious. I could keep going with the awesome sitcom plot, but I won’t (spoiler alert: it comes back from commercial break and the slideshow still isn’t over…at the bottom of the screen it says something comical like “three hours later”, then there’s another fog horn sound, and then the biggest damn laugh track you’ve ever heard comes in with a woman saying “OH MY GAaWD” explosively).

Alright, let’s flash forward to nowadays when, all of a sudden, people are going out of their way to view these slideshows, online, and by choice. People even make requests for them now.

“Hey, you’re back from your trip, oh god show me the pictures, did you post them yet? lemme see, lemme live through your eyes. OH GOD I NEED TO SEE THEM NOW! POST THEM POST THEM POST THEM!”

Plus everyone gets to put their comments on the photos, which absolutely enriches and enhances the photo slideshow viewing experience for everyone else.

- u look so drunx haha
- i love this picture where you look so cute you guys im so happy 4 u
- oh man best night evah lol
- nice face looks like he farted hehe whats up yer butt hehe
- wish I coulda been there
- wtf that the guy that took out his weenis and got arrested later outside?
- when’d u take this? omg soooo funny where was i
- oh man best night evah lol

Pictures used to be worth a thousand words, now they’re worth a few syllables at best (sometimes they are worth little more than ‘lol’, ‘fail’, ‘omg’ or ‘wtf’). Take a picture it’ll last longer? Really? You know what? Most moments being captured by cameras these days don’t need any lengthening to begin with. They’re just fine and dandy the way they are, occurring once, lingering for a sufficient amount of time, and then being mostly forgotten about. Live in the now! Let’s all put the cameras down for a little while and start experiencing things as they actually happen, in real time. Stop being so worried about capturing the moment, because chances are, you just missed the moment, while you were busy looking at the little screen of your camera making sure everything was lined up just right, or while you were checking out the blurry failed photo that you took of the previous moment that you missed one second earlier.

That’s it. My photos are done uploading. I’m going to stop typing now.

Important Note:
I wanted to say a little comment on the photo I used up at the top. It was meant to mock how some people must view the world, always through the eye, or lens, of a digital camera. But then I looked more closely and started thinking, who took this picture? Is there a fifth biker? Did they put it on a timer? Because it would be very difficult to get back on the bikes in a line like that, in time, and from that distance. How did they time it so well? I’m thinking that, unfortunately, it’s someone creepy that they don’t even know, since none of them are actually looking at the camera. And then I thought that this is probably not the best marketing strategy, to target 'that Stalker who is constantly on the go'. Just a thought.

1 comment:

  1. I was sitting on my couch reading this post- laughing so loudly that my husband couldn't hear the tv. He ended up leaving the room with an exaggerated sigh.
    Your work here is done.