What Do You See?

These pictures have been making the rounds since the election of Pope Francis.

Picture (Device Independent Bitmap) 1

Most everyone oohs and ahhs over all the smartphones and tablets everyone was holding to record the historic event in 2013, compared with the nearly digital-free scene at the election of Pope Benedict in 2005.

What I see are people who passed on a chance to witness history with their own two eyes.  People who sacrificed the moment, visceral or spiritual, by putting a viewfinder between their eyes and history.  They crossed the digital divide for pictures that would be instantly available anyway.

Some things are just better committed to memory.

Look at what my camera saw at sunset one day last week in Mexico.  The photo was not retouched.

Puerto Vallarta 3.13 022

The trouble with this picture?  The panorama was far more breathtaking than what the camera saw.  I took a couple more pictures, started to get frustrated, and that’s when it occurred to me.

Some things are just better committed to memory.  I put the camera down, and enjoyed the moment.

Seems to me that sometimes we’re so eager to “share” our lives, we forget to live them.


About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in Digital World, Media, News, People, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to What Do You See?

  1. nicksowards says:

    Yes! I agree. Need to put the camera down and soak in the moment much more often than we do. I especially hate this at concerts. You end up seeing people’s iPhone screens instead of the show. And for what? So 5 people on YouTube can watch a grainy video with terrible sound.

  2. John Meany says:

    I went to Bike week in Daytona last week, yes SOMETHINGS are better committed to memory. And you hope no-one took pictures..

  3. Renee Antaya says:

    Gerry, I agree, we need to connect as human beings again.

  4. Bingo. I stole an idea from Alain de Botton’s book The Art of Travel: draw what you see. Doesn’t matter if you know how to draw; the act will make you really see it. I drew a hilariously bad sketch of the Borromini chapel tower (that crazy twisty thing in Rome) years ago. I still see that tower in my mind’s eye with great clarity. Of course, you have to pick and choose or you’ll see very little period, but a sketch of something really special can really help.

  5. Patricia Taber says:

    While I agree with you to an extent, there does seem to be a lot of phones held too high to be inbetween them and what they’re looking at. Especially in such a crowd situation (with at least the ones close enough to our view to see the detail, those toward the unfortunate middle and back of the crowd) it strikes me as more just the desperate attempt to mimic eyestalks.. possibly with a zoom option.

  6. ezimm309 says:

    Gerry you are so right. While trying to get my granddaughters chorus on my phone I realized we were missing a great performance by 4 and 5 year old kids. I see too many people on their phones while dining out. Have they nothing to say to each other?

  7. Eileen Wall says:

    Sadly, this is what our society has come to. Children cannot entertain themselves just “playing”, they need their parents phone to play games on. Families gather in restaurants and you see the parents with their phones out doing something on them, rather than actually “talking” to their children or spouses asking what’s new in their lives. People laugh at my phone. It makes calls, receives calls and occasionally, will take a picture or two. My granddaughter asked if I had any games on my phone. I said: “Yes!, when it rings you open it and say “HELLO!”

  8. J.A. Scott says:

    I learned this the hard way around 13 years ago, before it was such a digital world.. One late spring morning I awoke unusually early, to a beautifully golden daylight. I then noticed a double rainbow over my yard, so I grabbed my trusty Pentax, went outside and took a bunch of shots. (On the same roll were photos of a flock of redpolls, birds that I had never seen before I lived in CT, taken during an April snowstorm.) When I tried to rewind the film, I discovered to my great dismay that the camera was EMPTY – my better half had emptied it and had not put in a new roll of film, as I always had done. So I had no photos of these events, only my memories, which I have to this day.

    Nowadays, and as I get older (my excuse, and I’m sticking to it), I am often guilty of putting a digital device between myself and something I want to remember. But I’ve never forgotten that day years ago, and I also try to remember to put the device down and enjoy the moment for its own sake. And, to be honest, I don’t ever spend much time looking at all those digital photos I take….

  9. Bruce Bartolomeo says:

    Gerry, I like your insight.

  10. Li'l Em-Kel says:

    Memories morph and mellow with time. With memories, the older the better.

    Photos are stark and static. And dead. Unlike life, they never change.

  11. Bob says:

    Your point is well taken and timely. I too shot a few pics of a beautiful sunset a few weeks ago (albeit in the very different environment of snow in central MA) and had the same realization. None of the pics that I took could truly convey what I was witnessing. So, I stopped shooting and enjoyed the beauty. Simple lessons are often the most profound. Thanks for reinforcing that lesson.

  12. Gerry says:

    Thanks for a bunch of great comments. I am not anti-camera by any means. It’s a “must have” when we travel. But I found myself becoming a slave to it. So (even pre-digital) I switched to a small point-and-shoot and take fewer pictures that I enjoy more.

  13. Paul says:

    There isn’t much I agree with George Will on but he once called behavior like this “Autism by choice”.

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