Monday, June 20, 2016

I think someone is watching me!

Now that I have learned that the man following us around shoving a camera in our face was just there to see what would happen if a camera was shoved in our face, at least according to the prompt, I am honored, but at least I get to write about it. Susan Sontag writes about this exact subject, "While a painting or a prose description can never be other than a narrowly selective interpretation, a photograph can be treated as a narrowly selective transparency", as I take it Sontag means that paintings have defined meanings and interpretations, the painting really only means that one thing, one can interpret other things, however they are either right or wrong, while a photo is simply a window into a moment, and the moment is never defined by the photographer.

Sontag goes on to perform a very deep psychological analysis of personal photography, "Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs." "Photography has become one of the principal devices for experiencing something, for giving an appearance of participation.", I certainly relate to this every time I take a selfie or a picture, its proof that I was there, its sort of narcissistic and nonsensical, my own memories should be sufficient, but I do enjoy looking back at them after a few years so it isn't fruitless.

The author of this essay mostly talks about the cultural and social circumstances implied by taking a photograph, and its much deeper than simply making that specific event an important one. She goes into some of the more specific implication of photography telling the reader that it usually implies stress relief and fear of the past being lost. This fear is usually found in high work ethic countries like the United States and Japan, and acts as a sort of stress ball. She ends on a few key notes, one of which is that, "After the event has ended, the picture will still exist, conferring on the event a kind of immortality (and importance) it would never otherwise have enjoyed.", she means that when we take a photo of ourselves, we are applying an implied importance to that moment that may or may not have existed before, it is recorded in time, and would not have been if we had not clicked the button.

Being recorded by someone else implies importance, and although I don't know what it was for, I did feel a slight importance and permanence every time we were being filmed. That moment would be recorded for some mundane purpose ~forever, and that does have psychological implications, it changes your thought process to a number of things, some maybe even self critical. Overall I found this essay very interesting, it goes deep into a subject that I would never have thought even deserved entertainment.

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