I am fortunate to live in one of the greatest cities in the world, New York. A place steeped heavy in culture, from Broadway to world class museums, which I try to visit as much as I can. Standing in front of a piece of art, absorbing the creative vision of the artist, the texture of the brush strokes or the smooth definition of the carved marble, I get infinitely inspired. People come from all over the world to visit and have those same experiences.
But recently, with the age of social media, selfies, check-ins, tagging, and posting of any and all experiences, I’ve noticed a troubling trend in museums. People aren’t actually LOOKING at the art. They quickly snap photos of the painting and the text next to it, then move on, never taking the time to see what is right in front of them. Some even taking selfies with a Van Gogh or a Degas as if they are proving they have had a cultural experience. But have they? Have they noticed the way Rembrandt uses thin paint over thick to give transparency to a lace collar or the number of blades of grass in Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that people are falling in love with photography, but when I shoot it’s so that I DON’T miss the experience. So that I can be engaged in the details of every day life and celebrate the many faces and personalities that bring joy to this sometimes stressful world. But it seems to me that people are using photography to capture every second instead of living it. Even though I shoot a lot and would be lost without my camera, I still make time to put the lens away and just soak up the experience for what it is….life happening all around us.
But maybe there’s hope…..