Philip Hensher in the Independent has written one of those pieces lamenting the way people use technology at live events and experiences, asking ‘Do you want an experience, or just to film it?‘
I dunno. There’s a part of me that sympathises with this kind of thing and I agree with the article’s earlier point about respecting a venue/performer’s rules.
On the other hand, it’s a daft question. Evidently some people would rather wave a camera around, capturing the moment to relive it later, than simply look at a picture. Besides, experiencing something and capturing it on film aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive acts.
I also think this might be over-egging things slightly:
In the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg last year, I saw any number of tourists enter an incomparable Matisse room with a camera already held up before their face; they walked around, and left still with the thing raised. What had they seen? How could they ever surrender to the vast magic of Matisse in full flood?
I’ve been to a fair few galleries in my time and can’t remember seeing the people without cameras “surrender to the vast magic” of anything very much, it just doesn’t work that way. I’ve seen all sorts – boredom, distraction, mild interest, animated discussion and quiet appreciation.
At classical concerts my attention has wandered so far from the music that I was tempted to go back, just for the chance to do some good, uninterrupted thinking. I’ve also chatted through bands at festivals, dropped off to sleep in the theatre and caught up on emails and RSS feeds during talks and lectures (proof below). This stuff happens. In that context (and I’m sticking up for these amateur filmmakers and their creative acts now) is holding up a camera really so bad?