Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still

If there’s one thing I really [really] hate, it’s having my picture taken.  Having somebody shove a camera in my face not only irks me, but also makes me want to run a mile.  Filming is just as bad.  The fact that my whole walk along the high street every morning, and every afternoon, can be caught on three different CCTVs is something I try not to think about …

However, taking pictures of other people is something I enjoy.  Even more so, I really enjoy taking pictures of anything [within reason, and perfectly legal of course, and because I know how horrid it is I would never take a picture of somebody who hated having their picture taken].  I’m not particularly good at it, as you can judge for yourself if you toddle along to my Flickr site, and I will never be as good a photographer as The Baby Brother, who takes the most amazing pictures with his squillion cameras and lenses [and perhaps contributed to me starting to enjoy photography and seeing it as more than simply pointing and clicking], but it’s something I like, a way of me being creative.  I am not a creative person; I only got an F in my GCSE Art exam, for goshness sake! 

Tomorrow I’m off on a course to learn how to use my our Canon EOS 400D.  It’s a course specifically for the camera.  I shall have to spend the day talking to folk I don’t know [yikes!] and I shall spend the journey there panicking about this, and I won’t sleep tonight because I’ll be worrying that the other people there will know more than me … *sigh*

But there was an article on the BBC Magazine page that made me wonder if the course is worth the money The Blokey is spending on it. 

People take pictures all the time.  It used to be mainly tourists and media/journalist types [and trainspotters], but now that cameras are cheaper and smaller, and now that we have them as standard on most mobile phones, nearly everybody takes pictures.  They take them in pubs, at events, in schools, even just whilst walking down the street.  See something you like?  Just whip out your camera, point and click, and the moment is captured for you to keep forever, or for as long as you want.  In the digital age you can delete it immediately if you hate it and if you want to keep it you can have it stored somewhere on your PC before the person next to you can utter the words, That’s cool!  Let’s put it on Facebook!

But the freedom of photography comes with a price sometimes; society judges you.  If I take a photograph in a public place it isn’t because I have an unhealthy interest in children.  Nor is it because I plan to bomb a building in order to cause chaos.  It’s certainly not because I’m stalking you.  It’s simply because I want to capture that moment/place/scene, which I’ll probably never be able to capture again. 

As a society we’ve developed an unhealthy paranoia in everything:  the world is a worse place than it was thirty years ago, everybody is a potential criminal, and nobody has morals anymore.  Because of these unfounded views children don’t play out in the streets like they used to, strangers look at you warily if you try to strike up conversation and anybody wearing a hoody/baseball cap is automatically categorised in our minds as a thug and we cross the road to avoid them.

And obviously, if you cart a camera around you’re either a terrorist or a paedophile.  

But it is legal to take photographs in public places.  And photographers [whether amateur or professional] have rights.  I think I’ll be printing them out and carrying a copy in my camera bag lest I ever get accosted by some inexperienced policeman just out of nappies.   

Bloody idiots.

please God bless this paranoid society xxx Elsabeth

6 comments

  1. I love taking pictures too.  I have been slacking in the picture taking for the past 6 months though.  I actaully have taken a ton of pictures lately, but I can’t seem to actually get them on to the computer.  If I had your camera I’d need a class too.That’s a sweet camera!

  2. I also love taking pictures…although having had a tiny digital camera for about 4 years I’m still of the ‘click and point’ school at the moment. I’d love to get a ‘proper’ camera and go on a photography course at some point. And yes, the paranoia about people taking photos in public places is ridiculous.

  3. I wonder if USians have rights as well. Probably not.  No one ever bothers with rights here anymore.I just added you as a contact on flickr.  It wasn’t some stalker. ;)

  4. I’m pants in front of a camera, and pants behind it.  I have no qualms in admitting my admiration for those who aren’t pants either way…*sigh*.  Oh to have a tiny amount of creativity when it comes to cameras…I hope you enjoyed your course and the people weren’t scary marys (and martins).

  5. Sigh, one more ridiculous thing that people are paranoid about. I think that society has gone beyond the boundires of reason with worry (the very defiinition of paranoia, sometimes I talk in circles, lol), which means that the people that they are worried about have already one. I refuse to get that bunged up about anything, I could get run over by a bus or catch stray bullet in the head tomorrow so I just let it flow. In the grand scheme of things we are only here for a cup of coffee so why spend the whole time on worry.
    P.S. You are such a lovely gal you shouldn’t dread being photographed.

  6. no wonder there are no pictures of you anywhere!  good luck on the camera class.  i have a cheap digital camera that was given to me.  but it serves its purpose.  take care.  dave out

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