I am what my sister refers to as a ‘photo hoe’. Without meaning to sound like a cliche, photography is my passion. A new passion but a passion nonetheless. I can’t eat at a restaurant without taking a dozen pictures of my kale and tofu stir-fry much to the embarrassment of everyone else at the table. Yep, I’m that person. In my defense, I am a food blogger. But that’s not the point. When did we, as a society, start judging others based on the fact they’re taking photographs?
I think it stems from the ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ Instagram culture. It started with innocent Facebook status updates. Then it evolved into sharing pictures on Instagram and Snapchat. Anything from the weather, what you’re eating, what you’re wearing to who you’re hanging out with and where you are. Everything is shared and nothing is left to the imagination. Why? Because if it isn’t on social media , it might as well have never happened. The internet is one of the only things in our world that is permanent and as temporary beings, we’re all desperate to leave our mark even if it is only virtually. “I tweet, therefore I am” and all that.
I think a lot of people are under the impression that because I’m taking photographs, I can’t possibly be enjoying myself. It’s that whole idea of living in the world through a lens. She hiked a mountain for the photo ops? Why can’t she just be present and enjoy the hike? Excuse me, opposing point of view character, haven’t you heard of multi-tasking? After I’ve finished taking photographs, you bet I’m going to sit back down and enjoy the view. There’s no evidence to say views can’t be appreciated because they’ve been seen through the lens of a camera and who’s to say food tastes any different after it’s been photographed? There’s no evidence to say a work of art becomes less beautiful the more it is photographed. Unless you’re using flash. The brightness can deteriorate frescoes and tapestries, no seriously, don’t use flash. What I’m trying to say is this: You don’t need to spoil my fun with your judging eyes when we’re both doing the exact same activity, only I’m getting photographic evidence.
This train of thought came to me in Barcelona, a few days after a failed photoshoot in La Muralla Roja. It was when I had ventured out, alone, during a rainstorm and spent three hours hiking to the top of Tibidabo mountain. I didn’t bring an umbrella and I kept my camera hidden in my backpack for almost the entire journey. As I edged nearer the top, I couldn’t resist snapping a few shots.I happen to love the rain, especially rain photography. The lack of tourists ruining the pictures, the reflection of buildings in the puddles, the lack of sunbeams that inevitably spoil the moody scenery. The only problem is protecting your camera from the rain and hoping raindrops aren’t going to smudge the pictures. However, this wasn’t the place for beautiful rain photography. The views were laughable. I could make out outlines of houses in the distance but all my camera picked up was clouds and fog. My first thought was ‘when I upload this on Facebook, people are going to think I had a miserable time,’ when in reality, the opposite was true.There I was, standing on the top of a mountain at a closed theme park with nobody around except for the odd vendor selling churros and I was thinking about Facebook. Um, brain? What are you doing? Why did I suddenly care what others thought? I usually do stuff because I want to do it and yeah, I share the photos on social media because I like looking back and remembering and not caring about if a photo gets likes or not. Still, I was thinking about Facebook and what a shoddy representation of Barcelona my pictures would be.Of course I still took the pictures because when I’m older, I want to remember that time I hiked to a closed fairground in the middle of a cloud. I mean, how often does a person do that? I had fun! I want to capture that on film so I’ll never forget it. I want to make the moment even more special by doing something else that I love, taking pictures! Is this so inherently wrong that it’s deserving of judging eyes from everyone around? If yes, who cares? At the end of the day, my photos are for me and only me. Yeah, I’ll share them on social media for anyone else who’s interested, but ultimately, I don’t care if anyone else wants to see them. Why anyone else cares about strangers that use Instagram is beyond me.I think the whole point of this blog post is to say that I’m a ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ kind of person. I post pictures, therefore I exist. It’s sort of a sad notion, really. It makes me wonder whether I would have enjoyed the hike as much if I had left my camera at home. I love hiking, but without the added bonus of the moody rain pictures, I doubt I would have had so much fun. I would have left with the memories of being soaked wet through, shivering from the cold, being confused for a local because I was alone and trying to communicate with a Catalans bus driver through Google Translate even though it turned out she knew more English than Spanish. With the pictures, my greatest memory is the colourful, still fairground rides in the clouds and because of the photographic evidence, there’s no excuse to ever forget it.