Living life through her own lens
I admit it. I am an Instagram addict. Look on my account and you’ll see close to 1000 posts, a brimming collection of images including montages of my dinners, my friends, my dog, a generous helping of selfies and of course a whole bundle of beautifully edited #instaquotes. So it was quite surprising when last night, whilst listening to one of my favourite podcasts, I found myself whole heartedly agreeing with the familiar voices discussing their views on our society’s seeming obsession with living their lives through the lens of their smartphones.
The conversation took me back to a gig I attended a few months ago in Kentish Town. I love live music; it doesn’t matter whether it’s a classical orchestra or a 90’s garage remix, there’s something magical about being in a room with a bunch of strangers all fixated on the creative outpourings of whatever musical genius is stood in front of us all, holding our lighters up in appreciation. At least, it used to be like that. Now it’s more like, holding your iPhone up to add to your Snapchat story, or to video the whole event OR waiving your iPad around trying to take endless selfies. Yes you read that right. Selfies with an iPad! Who takes a iPad to a gig? Well, apparently lots of people do… And actually now that I come to think of it, lenses and screens and devices are now LITERALLY everywhere. You can’t walk down the street without seeing a handful of people stood taking a photo or video of whatever is going on around them, no matter how mundane it might appear to be.
The tablet-wielding fans peppered throughout the dozen or so rows ahead of me at that gig in Kentish town meant that my view of the stage was actually pretty restricted. I guess it’s my own fault for thinking my eyes and ears were all I needed to attend a live gig. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for capturing the moment, but what about if you’re so concerned with capturing the moment on a device that you actually end up missing out on the moment itself- or even worse ruining the moment for others?
Are our memories now that bad that unless it’s caught on camera we can’t recall it ever happening? Perhaps it’s not about remembering; perhaps it’s about proving to other people that we’ve done and seen the things we say we have? Furthermore, perhaps it’s all just about social currency and our own outward portrayal of the lives we live?
Eitherway, I’m not sure I like this whole living life through a lens ‘thang’ that seems to be going on. I think it says a lot about where we all are as a society right now, and where we’re headed. I’m guilty of doing this exact thing (perhaps not to the extent that I carry a tablet around with me everywhere), but perhaps from now on I’ll try to be a little more selective in the moments I choose to capture, just so my brain doesn’t forget how to hold on to those memories on it’s own, but also so I don’t get in the way of someone elses.