Have Cameras Ruined Everything?

DSC_6217dx.jpgThis is a question I’d been meaning to ask, especially after Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter‘s recent profile in The L.A. Times, but after seeing Tsar as well as Juliette and The Licks last night, now is as good a time to ask: Have cameras ruined everything? (link via Stereogum):

Much has been written about the classic struggle/ symbiotic relationship between celebrities and the paparazzi. Much has recently been written about those photo sites like Last Night’s Party and The Cobrasnake and how they turn willing regular people into “celebrities”. But what about normal people who just want to go to a party and talk to other normal people without a camera being shoved in their faces? Who will speak for us? The answer is: me.

I don’t know if it’s because of the popularity of photo websites, the decline in the price of digital cameras (particularly SLRs) and the integration of cameras into portable devices like cell phones and PDAs, and/or the compelling need by many people to document every aspect of their lives, but nowadays it seems like everyone is armed with a camera.

Oh sure, when I’m at a concert for an artist I’m interested in, I’ll take photos. But the ironic thing is that when I’m at a party with friends, I usually don’t. Case in point were the recent Buzznet and Textamerica parties, where I just wanted to relax and have a good time, plus with other people taking photos around me, I felt they were covering things just fine.

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9 Replies to “Have Cameras Ruined Everything?”

  1. Last time I wanted to see Juliette and the Licks at the Knitting Factory, I knew I’d want to take pictures, so I emailed the contact info from her site and got a message back from the publicist/manager or whoever saying “no cameras.” I went to the show anyway, leaving my dSLR at home, only to find dozens of pocket digicams snapping away with flashes and everything. Pissed me off to no end, to be honest.

  2. I couldn’t agree more that cameras are a blight on modern life (not that you said that, but … ) After much resistance I finally got a camera just recently – for free, on credit card points – and I think the real problem is in drawing the line between a process of documentation and a process that stands in the way of perception. While some of the more wonderful moments of life can indeed by captured in some way or other – be it through the plague of language, or through that of images – but I remain steadfast in my belief that it is in the nature of experience that it remain personal and thus cannot be shared in any meaningful sense – cf Wittgenstein, private language argument.

  3. How silly. That’s like saying computers have ruined everything. Or cars have ruined everything. Or whatever.

    It’s not the technology. It’s the people. Some greedy, some rude, some clueless. But it certainly *isn’t* the camera.

  4. whats with all the juliette and the licks posts? this stuff is total dogshit… no more actor bands… that includes 30 seconds to mars… any band with an actor isnt a real band. sorry.

  5. Jon, I’ve posted a whopping two posts about Juliette and The Licks and one post about 30 Seconds to Mars. It is true that majority of actor-involved bands out there aren’t that good at all, but Juliette won me over this past Sunday.

    All I can say is that I enjoyed “You’re Speaking My Language” off her album and gave her mad props for going on “The Howard Stern Show” to promote her album. Tony P.’s been raving about her and Tsar for quite some time, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to see both bands on the same bill. And I was really impressed with them.

  6. Funny, I didn’t know computers sent handwritten letters. I always thought it was humans.

    Like I said, it’s the people and their behavior, not the machine or device. How does a computer prevent anybody from sending a letter? It doesn’t. People choose not to write.

    The same goes for cameras and obnoxious photogs.

    BTW, I got a handwritten note from my niece a couple of weeks ago. Followed up the next day by an ecard. :)

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