Knowing when NOT to take pictures
Just a quick little observation that I've had rattling around my mind for the past few days. With the proliferation of digital cameras, with their red eye reduction pre-flashes and blindingly bright rear LCD screens, it seems like everybody has a camera with them at all times. Now I'm not talking about people who carry a little camera just in case they see something that might make a nice picture on the way home from work. I'm talking about the people who are taking pictures CONSTANTLY. People really need to learn when NOT to take pictures.
Last weekend I was at a concert at swanky venue here in NYC called City Winery. It was nice enough and the food was very tasty. Try the short rib if you ever find yourself there. But the tables are packed together tight like at a jazz club where you end up sharing tables with people you've never met. The two middle age men next to us were friendly enough, but then the performer took the stage and within minutes and without end, they proceeded to pull out and set up a digital audio recorder with stereo external microphone (this doesn't bother me as it largely invisible), a flip HD video camera (which does bother me because it's propped up on the table in front of me with it's LCD blaring), and finally each had a small pocket digital camera. For the entire 90 minutes they were constantly holding the cameras up at head height and a foot or two away from their heads and snapping away. No only was it massively distracting to everyone around them, but camera flashes are annoying as shit when you're alone with a guitar up on stage trying to play.
Why are they taking pictures? Especially with a flash. So they've got 50 terrible, direct-flash shots of Bob Mould from the right-hand side. You and everyone around you is paying good money to hear someone play music, so sit back and LISTEN to the music instead of taking crappy pictures the entire time. At the very least turn off your flash and screen and do it a bit more discreetly. Now I'm not a confrontational person, so I just sat there fuming instead of getting in an argument with the guy, but I still feel like people should know better.
Also if you see someone famous at a restaurant or on the street, they probably just want to be left alone. So why don't you keep the camera in your purse and not take it out and gawk and make everyone around you uncomfortable.
The information revolution has given you the tools that let you carry around a camera everywhere you go, but only you can know when not to use it. It's just the same as your computer letting you use 23 different fonts in your book club newsletter, but you shouldn't do that either. Everyone grow a conscience, a sense of decency, and at least a modicum of respect for those around you. Not everything needs a picture taken of it. Some things are better left alone.