Thursday, October 15, 2015

Selfie Less

When we travel we seldom take notice of tour groups, other than to make fun of the group guides who wander around with bright colored umbrellas, oversized flowers or  flags,  even teddy bears, so as to stand out in a crowd and not lose their fledglings. Perhaps that is because we visit so many large cities. Traveling to a smaller destination makes them stand out, every individual in the group.

I often joke that I had lost my greatest  opportunity to add the ultimate travel photo to my blog, after I failed to take out my own camera, when conscripted to take a  photo of a Japanese tour group at the Arc d' Triomphe in Paris. If the groups are more like those seen recently in Cesky Krumlov, my services may never be demanded again.

I know that people want to be in some of their own travel photos, but the selfie  craze has hit a low point when people feel the need to be in every photo. Common courtesy vanishes as people crowd in front of the attraction and one another, jockeying for their position in the perfect selfie, however, that perfection seems never to be achieved and the process continues at the next spot that catches their fancy.

On our 2 night stay at this diminutive World Heritage site, my husband and I reshot countless photos, because after we set up our shots, groups taking their selfies would step in front of us. They didn't see us because they were looking behind themselves to set up their own shots. In Hallstatt, I decided to give one man a taste of his own medicine, when he planted himself less than 3 feet in front of me, as I was about to take my photo. I repositioned myself 3 feet in front of him, as he attempted to take his shot. If looks could I know the meaning of that cliche on a personal level.

Well, that was nothing compared to the man we passed in St Peter's churchyard in Salzburg. He bellowed a loud "f--k you!", as we passed him along the path. Didn't he know about the delete button on his digital camera? I thanked my lucky stars that I could delete all the disrupted attempts I had made in taking photos. This man wouldn't have lasted 10 minutes in Hallstatt or Cesky Krumlov without resorting to fisticuffs or having a nervous breakdown. He really needed to toughen up; taking successful photos is not for the impatient nor ill tempered traveler.

What about these accessories that allow the iPhone or Samsung to be held 2 feet away from the self involved photo taker? Does the background even get in the shot when the photo subject/photographer is busy craning their neck to see if they are ready for their closeup? I kept observing and not one person looked at anything but their camera, even when it was above their head.

We decided to break for lunch and get away from the group tours. Two women sat at the table next to us and spent their entire time taking posed photos of one another until their order arrived. Even though they were not selfie indulgent it was still annoying. When one approached us and asked if we wanted her to take a photo of us, we answered in unison "No thank you!"

OMG, I just had a frightening thought...what if these people decided to use drones next year?

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