Wednesday, May 28, 2008
We are all in each other's pictures now
The digital camera is a wonderful thing but it has encouraged an infinite number of people to take an infinite number of infinitely unremarkable pictures. We were in Barcelona this weekend and visited the Casa Battlo, a rich man's house designed by Gaudi that has become one of the city's premier tourist attractions. Here you find yourself in a room with, say, twenty people, at least half of whom are taking pictures. This results in a strange new process of triangulation whereby no matter where you stand you are in somebody's picture. I was brought up in an era when photography was rare enough for you to be able to keep out of people's shots. It doesn't seem to be possible anymore. And photography is one of those things that increases in inverse proportion to people's competence. I have a friend who is a professional. It's very instructive to be a tourist in his company. He'll walk into a place where all the amateurs are snapping away as if they've got a once in a lifetime opportunity to capture a unique image and immediately say "there's no picture here".