the habit of shooting photos everywhere that many bloggers partake in has historical results. never before have we had such a mass of recordings of ordinary people's daily outfits, meals, everyday life and partying.
since the early days of weblogs, photos played an important part. as blogging became more commonplace, great photos were one of the ways to stand out in the crowd. as far as style blogs go, good quality pictures are a requirement, not a voluntary option.
because the recent evolution of the blogosphere encourages paying attention to pictures, it seems to have become many a blogger's main ambition. readers expect and ask directly for good shots (not mine, presumably because you've given up on me already...). thus, most bloggers have acquired excellent cameras, treasure their friends who are willing and know how to shoot decent photos and take time in choosing locations. needless to say, they know their best angles and choose flattering lighting.
thankfully amateur photography has become easier and many bloggers, quite deservingly, take pride in their carefully selected pictorial material for the enjoyment of us all. unfortunately, having quality material usually comes down to having quantity to choose from. for every great shot there are at least a few that did not make the cut.
unsurprisingly, an aggravating phenomenon created by blogs and many other social media applications, such as twiddish, is the constant camera presence everywhere you go. it seems practically impossible to go to a bar or a club without seeing young women (and some young men) twitch and turn in front of a camera. there are some notable pits of flash flaring torture: in helsinki especially jenny woo seems to attract young blogger types.
it would not matter as much if it wasn't accompanied by horrible manners: the posing project often starts innocent but the more intoxicated people get, the brighter the flash, the more outrageous the poses and the more clickety clack of the camera you hear. after a while they start asking people to move out of their way in order to get better shots or take over the entire dancefloor shoving outsiders with snarky commentary about people not being fabulous enough for their pics. not once or twice have i heard about a blogger loudly pointing out something along the lines of "don't shoot yet, let the ugly people pass first..."
witnessing this development stopped me from carrying a camera around because i loathe the mere idea of being associated with the brats who forget about everyone else – including their friends – when their camera frantic takes over. it seems they are increasingly keen on creating a bubble of a paparazzi universe around them which is both pretentious and arrogant.
curiously the culprits are not necessarily big name bloggers or known for their extraordinary photographs; irritating camera bullies come in all blogger sizes and styles, but all share the absence of consideration for their fellow beings. the world is their red carpet and they're going to keep on shooting...
i have, unfortunately, spent a night in such company and felt both embarrassed and bored out of my mind. the pics turned out great, but not worth spending a night yawning... at least to me.
aforementioned nightlife flashes are only surpassed in aggravation by restaurant photography. i am often guilty of taking a picture of my meal before digging in (you've seen some results here), and caught a glimpse of disapproval from my fellow diners – none of whom are bloggers, as might be self-explanatory. despite never using flash and having the courtesy of not posting my pic instantly anywhere with comments (as those using twiddish do), it is undoubtedly true that the few seconds of disavowal from accompanying people in order to shoot instead of marvel and share together can ruin the atmosphere for some of my friends. i have started to cut down the pics, and when taking one, try to do it as subtly as possible.
not everyone aims for subtlety and some restaurants have gone as far as banning photography at their tables. although pictures of actual dishes can provide significant marketing draw, the disturbance created by enthusiastic bloggers harms business more than ever. the reason is similar to what i described before: some bloggers just do not seem to know when to stop. with the rise of video blogging the future impositions are troubling.
it is not that taking photos in public places was annoying in itself: people have always recorded their friends at parties and having a set of photos is great as a token of memory. personally, i have several years worth of footage shot on lomo that reflect the segment of my life perfectly, i.e. blurry fuss with mindblowing moments of curiously bended light. moreover, i truly regret passing long periods of my life without taking as much as a single shot.
additionally, taking photos is both fun and strengthens bonds between people. i still recall a time when noting a group of laughing people at a restaurant or bar corner asking the waitress to take their picture was something that made me smile, if only internally. they were sharing and capturing a special moment. now i assume they are bloggers – see, i've given into cynicism... despite my foul attitude, shared memories in pictorial form are still treasured from generation to generation.
luckily, most bloggers – or at least the ones i have the pleasure to hang out with – also know when to put the camera away: social gatherings are much more enjoyable when the point is not solely content creation for a blog (which is important to us who blog, mind you), but actual socializing. nonetheless, having friends with quality gear and a stable hand around is more than a blessing: great photos of me and my friends can make a special day last forever.
it is clear that cameras are here to stay and bloggers have every right to use them to create material for their sites. hence, recording life around you is more urgently than ever a matter of sensitivity and sensibility. the opportunity to record moments easily can become a preoccupation with capturing and staging your entire life to fit in front of the lens – even if the life we're talking about is only the public party blogger life.
although it may sound i am claiming it is only bloggers who lack manners, it obviously isn't so. there is always a certain quota of people who ignore the needs of others – and it applies to the group of us who write online, as well. camera disturbance is just something that has creeped in as part of the lives of normal people because of blogging.
some people have natural sensibilities, anyone can learn if willing to do so. when getting a great shot becomes an obsession, a cause that justifies bothering strangers around you (more than asking them to take your photo in order to get everyone in the same shot), when you stop having discussions because you're constantly scouting accessories and other photo opportunities, and when carrying a camera and having a website makes you feel like you make the rules, it's gone too far.
as a fellow blogger i am at the forefront experiencing this, but the murmur is spreading. my plea is: people first, photos second, please.