Two girls, somewhere in their early 20’s, sat down next to us on the beach last week. While – certain – demographics have always been a little more concerned with style over substance, it was somewhat amusing to see the girls spend the first 30 minutes posing and re-posing for just the perfect ‘carefree’ beach photo.
Between the primping of the hair and the adjustments to their bikinis to make them fit – just – right, they missed the fantastic clouds forming just offshore. The sea turned a brilliant blue, but I noticed that they were not shooting that direction as the wind was blowing the wrong way for flowing mane pictures.
In their attempt to prove to the world how wonderful their beach trip was, they spent more time creating a perception of their visit than actually enjoying their time – as the photos were intended to convey. Their ‘social moment’ superseded their real moment. The image was more important than the experience.
Of course this was not an isolated event. I’ve noticed similar behavior even in myself at times. I have been guilty of jockeying for just the right shot and not taking the time to enjoy the reality of the moment.
And we’ve been this way for a while…. Who doesn’t remember posing for holiday photos while the food on the table got cold?
I’m fairly certain that social media has taken us to a new level of obsession with the image over the experience. I recently read that more photos are made EVERY HOUR than were made in the totality of the first 100 years of photography. We, as a society, are documenting our lives like no other civilization has done before.
Are we losing our ability to enjoy the moment? Perhaps not. However, I am making a true attempt at spending more time present in the moment, rather than worrying about capturing it for future reflection or bragging rites or simple documentation of my travels.
Then again, my new Canon camera just arrived today.
Hey, wanna see what I had for lunch?