Friday, September 19, 2014

Living life behind a camera phone

I read recently that the Queen has complained that no-one looks her in the eye anymore. Apparently, whenever she does public engagements, most people grab for their phones and fumble around in order to video her, take a photograph of her, or try and take a selfie with her in the background. In doing so, she grumbles, people aren't actually looking at her any more. Not in the eye, anyway. Just through their phones. 

Now, my first thought when reading this was of course I'd try and take a selfie with the Queen if I had half the chance. Even if I looked terrible in the selfie, or the Queen was half obscured by a hat or corgi, I'd still love having the photo. I'd probably even make it my profile pic on Facebook, so all of my friends could marvel at my selfie-taking prowess. I would share the photo with everyone who wanted to see it, and probably plenty more who couldn't care less and just feign politeness before calling me a show-off behind my back. 

On second thought, though, I think it's sad that people don't look the Queen in the eye anymore, and that an experience with meeting Her Majesty is just one of many things now experienced from behind a camera phone. I realised that while I haven't rubbed shoulders with any royals recently, I too am guilty of trying so hard to record things for future reminiscing that I've missed out on actual real, fun moments while trying to record them, especially with my children. Just the other week I was at a baby class with my girl, and she looked so cute while playing with the toys, I just had to take a photo. Trying to get the perfect shot, I took at least a dozen. Thing is, none of them came out well. So not only did I miss out on actually playing with her, but the only thing I have to remember the event by is a series of blurry photos that I'll probably delete anyway. Plus, I have hundreds and hundreds of photos of her. I didn't need a few more to add to the file. I should have given her my full attention instead. I should have looked her in the eye, rather than via a small screen.

Of course I will keep taking photos of my children. I love photos, and unlike many, I still print them out and put them in albums like it's 1999 again. I'll just take them a little more sparingly. After all, in 1999, I took about 150 photos, and that's more than enough to remember the people and places that defined that year. I don't actually need the close to 100 that I've taken over the last month alone. We have much better quality photos now digital cameras have been invented, but just because you can take a trillion without having to pay to get a film developed, doesn't mean we should. I'll also have to think of the Queen every now and then, and make sure that I'm still looking people in the eye. Especially my children. After all, they are only small once, and it would be a shame to have all of these photos of them, when the photos came at the expense of lovely moments. 

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