We watched another oriental couple with their cameras. We were near the Johann Strauss statue which is probably the number one spot for picture taking in the park. The couple took turns posing in front of the gold statue. One would pose and the other would snap. Then they'd both run to the camera and review the photo. If they weren't satisfied, they'd do it all over again. It was quite funny because they had two or three different poses that they seemed to choose from. He would put one hand on his tummy and one behind his back- sort of like Napolean, and she would fold her hands together in front of her tummy or behind. There didn't seem to be any other variations allowed. When they moved on to another area of the park, we decided to follow them, and yes we felt a bit like spies! And again they did the same things- the pose and the snap. It occured to us that they were not actually looking at the thing of interest behind them. We imagined the conversation they might have when they got back home: "Ohhh look at that statue behind me! How did that get in the picture??" and so on.
Nowadays you NEVER see tourists without a digital camera around their necks. Everyone seems to run around snapping shots of anything and everything that looks 'pretty' or interesting. I rarely see people stopping to honestly breathe in their surroundings and take it all in. It's harder I think. Harder to put it into your memory for safekeeping, harder to take out a notebook and put it in words. I'm as guilty as the next person of snapping photos of everything, but it feels lazy in some way. When my daughter was here I noticed that she brought a notebook along with her and spent time everyday writing down her thoughts and feelings of what she had experienced that day. It impressed me. Yes a picture can be worth a thousand words, but aren't a thousand words sometimes more beautiful than the picture?
I found this quote in the book I am reading and I think it sums up what I am thinking about quite well so I'll share it:
"That winter I acquired the habit of never using a camera. It forced me to work harder, writing down every detail. Photographs can be passive and reductive. They allow us to recall too easliy, omitting from view what is behind the camera, and to the sides of it."
From Mediterranean Winter by Robert Kaplan
What do you think?