Friday, 13 June 2008


Recently, I've noticed just how many people seem to put the recording of an experience above the experiencing of it. I've always been like that - taking hundreds of photos at parties to hide my nervousness of the social situation - but it's only recently that I've picked up on how common it seems to be. People at an event or occasion often seem to be filming or taking pictures rather than watching or experiencing the event. Last weekend I went to see Stephen Lynch, and was struck by this phenomenon both during the performance (when there were a sea of LCD screens visible in front, throughout the show), and afterwards, when we were lucky enough to meet him outside the stage door. A lot of the people there were looking for a photo and autograph (records that they were there) rather than looking to chat with or congratulate the performer. I was certainly guilty of this (but then I'm never good at thinking of things to say in high pressure situations), but never appreciated perhaps how widespread it might be.

In any case, I don't want to go too deep into this particular piece of behaviour - just to bring it up and see what people's reactions are to it in themselves and others. Do you find yourself recording experiences rather than experiencing them?

I used to be very resistant to the idea of having a camera on my phone. I used to think that it was silly to combine two devices in a way that reduced the essential functionality of both of them. I thought I'd much rather simply carry one of each around with me. In a sense I still feel like that, though the fact that my current phone has a camera on it has led me to come a little more round to the view that such things are worthwhile.

If I'm going somewhere special or new, I know I'd rather have my proper camera with me, to make sure I pick up all the detail I can (clearly I'll need that detail so that later I can look back and see what I would have seen if I hadn't been taking pictures). But for the momentary things that happen day to day, it's useful to have a way of taking quick covert photos, and so I thought I'd present a quick gallery of some I've taken in the last month or so. A few of them are incredibly tiny, mainly because my phone appears to decide what size photo to store based on some kind of arcane dice roll.

Builders/decorators taking an extended lunch break on the roof opposite - it doesn't look it, but it was very sunny on this day, and we were jealous on their excellent choice of lunch location:

Busker on the tube, along with members of the public, at least one of whom seems suspicious that I'm taking a photo. The busker later went on to serenade a very embarrassed looking bloke in a baseball cap who was standing opposite me:

Graffiti is always hilarious, that's why everyone loves it so much:
That tall bloke is Stephen Merchant. I didn't want to intrude by getting out my normal camera, but it came at the cost of getting only a blurry, basically unrecognisable snap:
A slightly odd juxtaposition of adverts. For ages I thought they were a single poster and was trying to work out what it meant:

I'd hate to be stuck behind a carnivorous van:
Catching sight of this box on a shelf in someone's house was the greatest way to lose the game ever. (Incidentally, I just lost the game):

Me trying to be all artistic, but in reality just taking random photos of people on escalators:

In complete contrast to the grainy bullshit above, I'll take this opportunity to plug the 'The Big Picture' photo-blog again. It's really a great, topical and often jaw-dropping selection of images, updated pretty regularly. Of particular note (of the ones that have appeared since I started reading, at least) is this gallery of weather photos taken from orbit.

I also found an image to add to my poker post from a while back.

Ooh, and because I haven't plugged for a while, the next generation of photographs will be moving ones (JK Rowling was way ahead of the game on that one...). Scroll down to the "long photographs" if you don't want to read the whole thing.

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