Most photographers I have met do not like to have their photos taken and because I do not like to take photos, I thought maybe I was cut to be a photographer, too. But reality shows I am a pretender, just because I can get one clean shot out of a few blurry ones or can comment about that perfectly timed photo, I cannot change a thing on the settings if you give me a camera.
So I asked a photographer why is it they do not like to have their photos taken? He said maybe it is an industry quirk, they are the men and women behind the lens and do not like being on the other side.
The photographer sees everything, that sad tilt of our eyes after holding onto a smile too long and thinking darkly of our general unhappiness. They click away and we are mortified they caught us with our guard down and the mask off, they are powerful.
That power is something so much that the hands of 13-year-old Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna were trembling when she took one of the very first self-portraits in 1914.
If you are familiar with Greek mythology, you would know of the most beautiful man Narcissus who was fated to fall in love with himself. Narcissus rejected all his suitors most of who killed themselves only to be mystified by his own image when he came to a pool in Thespiae to drink from its water, and saw the most beautiful man. He fell in love with his selfie reflection on the pool from which he could not draw himself, pining away and dying.
And in such an eerie de ja vu that our selfie mental disorder is driving narcissistic traits, named after this sad Greek myth. What is more like Narcissus we are glued to our phones, those black mirrors that demand our virtual reality over and above the reality of our everyday lives.
NyarSindo likes to take photographs, which I tend to dismiss off hand as an age gap thing. The results of the decade rise in smartphone use that has made many young people snip away at everything and anything instead of taking it all in. But she insists it is a store of memory, hooking me over with “don’t you just feel good to go through our old photos,” and I have lost that argument often.
But now science is validating what we luddites have long been suspicious of, taking photos diminishes our ability to recall our experiences, diverts our attention, and takes us out of the moment.
Coupled with the rise of the selfie; Oxford English word of the year 2013, and its narcissistic tendencies, I personally prefer my faulty memory. I click away once in a while, but I realize maybe I am just too old school and I believe that photos should not be taken everywhere.