Unlike many of my other posts, this is an impulsive one because I thought I should talk about this with my readers. Travel is a part of lifestyle today. Some travel because they are bloggers like us, some travel for business, some travel because they want to unwind and take a break and some travel because they have a shitload of money in their bank account and they probably need to spend it somewhere. Anyways, whatever your reason is, chances are that you do travel at some point in time.
Experience and observation is a part of our travel journeys and therefore when we (Sarah and I) travel we are constantly experiencing and observing things and events around us. The camera has come a long way and has become an integral part of our lifestyle today. A digital camera is 42 years old today and in these 42 years, it has transformed from a boxy and bulky instrument into a tiny lens that sits at the back and front of our laptops and mobile devices. Back in 1975 when Kodak introduced this coffee-machine-type digital camera not many could own it, but four decades down the road 2.5 billion people have a digital camera.
As digital cameras integrated with our mobile devices a new trend of photography emerged from nowhere, we call this trend a selfie. This is basically a self-portrait photograph and we see millions of people today clicking selfies almost everywhere. Often when I and Sarah travel we see people clicking selfies and it sort of amazes us when we see people busy capturing the moment, rather than experiencing it. It is truly one of the important questions that I would like to ask my readers. Is selfie important to you when you travel?
Before I wrote this post, I read a lot about why people believe selfies are important. I want to know what the young generation feels about selfies and their never-ending obsession about it. Probably, because I am old-school and as a traveler I am more keen in exploring the nature around me, listening to the sound of the birds and woods, watching the clouds hover over the mountains rather than making a duck-like face (to look sexually attractive) and being busy in capturing the moment. Of course, at times we do click our own pictures which are purely for the travel blog, but the majority of the pictures are about the things we experience and observe.
One of the most popular and common answers you’ll find about why people take selfies is because they want to show – I Was There. Seriously? Have we come to a point where we have to be in the picture all the time to tell our audience that yes, we were here? As a travel blogger I am quite amazed because I hardly take selfies of me and Sarah, but still, we are able to project I-Was-There-Moment with our pictures. I believe many professional photographers do the same as well. They capture moments, not faces unless they are specific portraits.
Photographs have this innate ability to transport you mentally and help you visualize better. Also, I believe that experience is the most important part of any photography. It is only when you connect with your surroundings you get this urged to capture the essence of it and that essence is reflected in the image you capture. When we see a breathtaking landscape image, we see what the photographer is seeing and experiencing in that moment and the beauty of that moment enthralls us. When you travel to take selfies you are more focused your self-image and how you are going to look in that picture, while your experience takes a backseat. In this, you not only ruin the essence of the photograph you are going to take you also lose the precious moments of your life appreciating the beauty of nature around you. When you travel it is important that you put yourself aside and reflect on the natural landscape around you, the people you are with and the quality moments that are more precious than digital self-portraits.
Many of the readers might feel I am an anti-selfie person, but I am certainly not. If you travel around and take selfies I don’t mind it. You are free to explore and travel around as you please. However, I would like to say this that the digital camera has enabled us to become our own Picasso and transform our social media platforms into virtual museums where we can exhibit our artistic talent and use various image filters as our signature brushstrokes, but how we use these resources is entirely up to us.
So, what drives you to take pictures when you are traveling or when you are just toying with your camera?
A special thank you to Damyanti Biswas for inspiring me to write this post.