Whoever has been on vacation within the last ten years must have noticed one obvious trend –cameras and smartphones are everywhere. Sometimes, when visiting a spectacular or meaningful place, all you encounter are people experiencing it through their lenses or screens.
I’m not one to judge here, because I regularly catch myself doing the same. I wouldn’t want to miss my photo memoirs, but one thing for sure, whenever I see scenes like that, I wonder if this whole, “capturing the moment on photo or video”- thing didn’t get out of hand and it might rob us from the real experience instead.
I mean, even when sitting in a play at the opera or standing in the crowd at a concert, most people are rather focusing on filming or photographing everything than really watching and living the moment.
Tom Hoyings “Scenic View” project is also about that phenomenon. On his website he states that “Scenic View is a series of photographs that attempt to explore tourist culture and the relationship photography has, as a tool to mediate and document lived experience within American landscape”. In my opinion his work perfectly demonstrates how I feel about the whole modern way of traveling/experiencing culture. There are people standing in front of the Grand Canyon being concerned about how to perfectly capture it, rather than appreciating the view.
One, to me, very powerful sentence on Tom Hoyings page is: “Often the anticipation of a photographed experience, and the memories associated with the photographs produced are more potent than the lived experience itself”.
And personally, being someone who loves and lives photography, I feel like I have to make myself more aware of the moment again. Of course, I will be photographing beautiful places and moments because that’s who I am, but I will also remind myself when doing so, to stop for a while and just BE THERE.