|Celebrity Selfie off of Google|
Those of us who have reached a certain age remember a lot of strange things.
For instance, I remember when my parent’s TV only showed three channels. Just three. I remember a time when you had to watch all of the adverts, because you couldn't forward through them and nobody could be bothered to cross the room in order to stand at the TV and flick over to BBC1 or BBC2.
These were dark times.
I also remember a time when you had to wait a week for your photos to come back from Truprint before you knew how well they had come out. And when they did come back, they were almost always of other people or things – rather than of you.
When did that change? When did we stop taking photos of other people and only start taking them almost exclusively of ourselves?
In the grey old Dinosaur olden days, whenever you went anywhere exciting and you tried to capture a photo of it, then you occasionally asked someone to take a photo of you standing in front of it – but mainly you just photographed the place / people / thing itself. And the really astonishing thing is that people believed that it was you that had taken them. They believed that you were there. Nobody doubted it.
This is apparently no longer the case. Unless you are actually in the photo then you weren't actually there. If you didn't post it to InstaBook at the time with the location digitally stamped in the forefront, then you simply didn't do it. Ensuring that random strangers, just as much as loved ones and friends, are unable to infer that you are faking your life is becoming more important than actually living the life, seeing the thing, or being in the place in the first place.
I believe I saw an example of this fact the other day, which firmly shows just how far down the evolutionary ladder the Selfie obsession is taking humanity. Be afraid, people, be very afraid.
I went to London.
|The Shard - taken by me, but you'll have to take my word for that|
Not to work, as is my usual habit, but to be a tourist.
10 of us in total. My family and our very good friends and their family, set off on an adventure in modern day exploration. We went to see the sights of our amazing capital city on a lovely sunny day, and I can secretly reveal that we had great day.
I love London. It is such an amazing mish-mash of time. Ancient, old and ultra-modern, sit side by side in a seemingly random, jumbled up, explosion across the land. Every country on Earth inspires it, everywhere you look you’ll see something that just doesn't make sense. So much history, so much future.
Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Borough Market, The Shard, Tower Bridge, Tower of London,O2 Arena, Hamleys, the list goes on…
The kids went on the underground, the DLR, the buses, and even the Cable Car – What an experience, what a day.
Photos were taken – fun was had. Everything was seen, everything was experienced. The kids came away knackered but absolutely happy.
This is how it should be.
|some soldiers passing by me - on foot|
Now let’s go back to the start – Buckingham Palace.
When we arrived, the changing of the guard was in full swing. The crowds were gathered. It was shockingly busy. The Victoria Memorial was covered in bodies, The Mall was lined with people.
It was the place to be.
The band played, the people cheered.
And the Horse Guards approached, polished and grand. This was something to see – especially if you are a young child visiting London from afar. Our kids were enthralled.
I’d imagine seeing those horses strut past would be something to remember forever.
I’d imagine. Sadly another tourist who was there as well didn't.
Just as they approached, the random stranger in front of me, who had spent the last two minutes setting up his Selfie Stick, suddenly grabbed his daughter (I'm guessing she was his daughter - circa 7 years old), and spun her around so that she was facing away from the action and instructed her to pose with him; both of them together, smiling manically into the camera while facing in the complete opposite direction to the thing they were there to see.
And there they stayed, presumably videoing the whole experience.
The girl was not allowed to turn around until the Cavalry had gone past.
Her only memory of the event is in looking at the camera with her back to the action.
But she was there. She can prove it.
This is completely sick - and I don't mean in the way that my 13 year old son says it.
How can a parent be so completely stupid? To completely miss the point of giving your child this memory? She didn't see the guards, she never saw them. The only way she will ever see them is on the video.
And when she does – assuming she learns to speak English – then she will also remember me.
Because the camera, throughout the whole passing of the parade, was waving about next to my face. I'm afraid that what they were too self-focussed to realise, was that I was giving them a running commentary of how ridiculous and stupid her father is. Begging him to let her turn around and see it for herself.
It would be fun to be in the room the first time that video is shown to someone who speaks English.
Technology is amazing. I genuinely love how easy it is to take great photos now – how easy it is to share them. And I'm not against the occasional Selfie – why not? It’s fun. It’s nice to get a record of yourself at a certain place; and do you know what? – it isn't new! I remember taking photos of myself as a child, arms stretched out with a camera pointing at myself. Two weeks later you’d find out that only half your blurred face is on show – but you still did it!
But keep it real folks.
We all love capturing these special moments of our children’s lives on film, we have been doing that for well over a century, but never let doing that become the whole story – never forget to actually let the moment be special.