Does photographing a moment steal the experience from you? (Erin Sullivan)
In this talk, Erin Sullivan spoke of her experiences of being a professional photographer. These included amazing landscape shots from across the globe, close images of wild animals, and even constellations free of light pollution. Not everyone can be professional photographers, but the advancement of phone cameras has given access to billions of people. Each person can capture a moment and have it stored for later. While her work took her to so many places, Sullivan began to realize the effect on her enjoyment of always having her camera out. She saw a similar trend in tourists. People traveling just to take their own photo of a landmark and only experiencing it for more than a couple of minutes. Sullivan argues that social media has increased this artificial impulse to take a photo of everything deemed sharable. Capturing memories has not become something to share with family, but something to receive likes on. She claims that she too had become enveloped in this as we all want to capture our own perspective of some moment. Sullivan’s main point is that sometimes we should leave our cameras behind, and fully experience an event. While there may be nothing to post, we have fully concentrated on a memory instead of scantily looking through a screen.
This talk relates to the study of leadership because it shows our desire of a shared social identification. Whenever we have travelled to some place, we want to make sure we have gotten a good shot of it because the memory has not happened if there is not a picture online. Although I have tried to limit myself, the artificial impulse we have culturally created is powerful. I have been to concerts where people have taken photos or filmed for nearly the entire time. In some famous art museums such as the MOMA, people will take pictures of paintings throughout their visit. Our cameras and phones have become an extension of us because sharing our own perspective and receiving praise gives us immense pleasure. The iPhone in our pocket allows us to create pictures that give us the praise we yearn for. This cultural practice is not how memories should always be captured. We are losing precious memories with friends, family, or even the earth because of this unhealthy obsession to capture what we see. While I cannot claim innocence from this obsession, times where I haven’t had my camera have allowed me to truly understand what I have seen with my eyes. During one summer, I hiked on the Billy Goat Trail in Maryland with friends and I forgot my phone in the car during the hike. Although I was at first annoyed since we had already walked 4 miles from the cars, I began to forget about it. I took in the sites on a beautiful summer day and enjoyed traversing over the rocks. I am glad that I could not take pictures of the scenery that afternoon. This accident allowed me to not seek pleasure in maintaining my status in a shared social identity, but to seek pleasure in authentic and personal moments with close friends.
Ted X Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAKzT6_ES8w