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Old 06-29-2006, 12:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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International Non-Photography Day

Under the heading "Celebrate the Moment, Don't Document It" a British artist has sugested that 17th July be a day for living life, rather than taking pictures.

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Originally Posted by BBC
Photographer urges no-photo day


A photographer from Brighton in southern England is urging the people of the world to take a day out and stop taking pictures.
Becca Bland has launched "non-photography day" - planned for 17 July - through a website together with a sticker and flyposter campaign in various cities in England.

Ms Bland told BBC World Service's Culture Shock programme that the idea has "gone global" with interest in Manchester, Leeds, London and Brighton, and even further afield in Australia and Japan.

She explained that she wanted people to "put your camera down and appreciate the moment you are in".

"Experience life in an unmediated fashion, without anything in front of your eyes. Live in the moment," she added.

'Celebrate, don't document'

Ms Bland got the idea for the day after reading various works about far-eastern Zen Buddhism.

She explained that she believes that in taking a photograph, people are trying to take possession of a place - but that photographs cannot give an "essence" of that particular place.

The sticker campaign for the day has the message "celebrate the moment, don't document it".

"When you simply take photos of something, without fully engaging with it, you're assuming that all you can have and take is the actual appearance of a place - rather than other creative factors that exist in the place," Ms Bland said.

She added that a lot of people think that photographers concentrate on a small part of a place, in the belief that this can allow the detail to be better understood

"For my beliefs - and for Zen beliefs - it is the essence, the whole that is more important," she added.

"I think that's perhaps where photography does fall down - they've got that frame around it, and it's got this inability to capture the whole.

"Those things become signs and represent things, but they can never really be what the place is."

Camera culture

She added that people really committed to the idea could join the "non-photography police" - a group who are telling people about the day when they see them taking pictures on the street.

However, David Rowan, of the Trendsurfing column in British newspaper The Times, said he believes Ms Bland is "fighting a losing battle."

"There is also a 'buy-nothing' day, organised by anti-consumer lobbyists, and I still see shops pretty full the rest of the time," he said.

"There's an organisation called White Dot which tries to get us to switch off our TV for a day a year, and I still see the TV companies in business."

He added that while he thought it right to question the "culture of ubiquitous cameras," it is simply the way that technological developments have led to.

He pointed out that Microsoft is currently developing a project called My Life Bits, based on the idea of infinite storage space. By wearing goggles with a camera and microphone attached, the wearer can record and document everything they see and hear.

"If Becca wanted to be really popular in Britain, she would get closed circuit TV cameras switched off for a day, so they wouldn't be recording your car registration and they wouldn't be following you round the streets," he added.

What do you think?

Personally, I love the idea.
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Old 06-29-2006, 12:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Grace and I seldom take any pictures when we're out and about or on vacation. For different reasons, we each dislike having our picture taken, and you can buy postcards that look better than anything either of us is capable of doing with a camera, so we don't see the point.

Every day is non-photo day for us.

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Old 06-29-2006, 12:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I HATE HATE HATE having my picture taken and will avoid cameras at all costs...

I think there are some folks who go overboard and take pictures of everything and anything and don't see what's in front of them - they'll look at it later... But I also see people who are so engrossed in their gadgets, or books, or staring off into space, that they don't see what's in front of them....

I don't see how this is gonna be effective... I understand the message but there are many many more things that distract people "from the moment" than a camera does...
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Old 06-29-2006, 01:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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We almost never take pictures. LONG after we go sometimes I wish we had more, but when you are there it seems to take away from the moment.
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Old 06-29-2006, 01:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I could see where this would be relevant to someone who takes pictures on a daily basis, but I only take pictures on rare occasions. I have no strong feelings one way or the other about this one.
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Old 06-29-2006, 01:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I will be ignorning this. I live with a camera in my hand. Of course, I do it for pleasure, not work (at least not yet). I have also gotten pretty good at taking my shots of whatever it is and then relaxing to enjoy the place, event, person, or whatever it is without shooting more. This is probably the result of photojournalism courses in college where I had to come back with both photos and some meaningful understanding of the subject.
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Old 06-29-2006, 02:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think this is a dumb idea.

"celebrate the moment, don't document it"

wtf?

"When you simply take photos of something, without fully engaging with it, you're assuming that all you can have and take is the actual appearance of a place - rather than other creative factors that exist in the place," Ms Bland said.

Ms. Bland is a raging doofus.
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Old 06-29-2006, 02:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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While I agree with the intention behind this, I am never sure if _____ Day has any lasting impression on people.

There is something to be said for, just living in the moment. There was a time where I wouldn't take a camera with me wile I travelled. I found that photographs tend to become the memory of the trip rather than the trip itself (ie photos mediate the experience).

I am always amused by people who walk around with a video camera while on vacation or while at some even (like a child's graduation). I wonder how often they will actually look at those tapes. I wonder how much they have missed while fucking around with their camera.

I have since found a happy medium.
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Old 07-04-2006, 01:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Photography is big for me. I often plan trips so I can take pictures. I do think sometimes I get too carried away taking pictures to appreciate what is really going on around me. It is like everything else in life you have to learn to balance things.
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Old 07-04-2006, 01:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think the whole zen aspect is a bit convoluted. "Living in the moment" can be nice, but it is incredibly at odds with any sort of modern existence. That being said, i understand the idea that sometimes photography can make you lose sight of the whole. On the other hand, taking the right photo can make something incredibly boring seem incredibly interesting, thereby in a sense improving the whole.
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