I travel a lot, but most photos of me that exist online are taken by others, taken in between trips, or feature me hamming it up in some way.
This drives the people I work with crazy. They want more featureable photos from exotic locales. They want more personality shots of me in situ, interacting with locals or posing in front of some monument or another.
The idea of recording everything I do on the road couldn’t be more boring to me.
Social media and the devices we use to tap into the online community is valuable, and has allowed me to grow my audience in ways I never would have thought possible, but I can’t help feeling at a certain point, those who become fully involved with such networks filter everything before they experience it themselves. Before they stop to truly take in a sunset, they photograph it, crop it into a square, and make it look old before sharing it with a bunch of people on the other end of the communication. Only then do they (maybe) take the time to actually experience the sunset themselves.
Again, I find the process of collecting and sharing these memories with others valuable; but to make it the first priority — the thing you do before enjoying the moment yourself — seems like missing the point to me. Most of the time I keep my phone tucked away and don’t photograph he amazing things that happen to me at all. It feels like an immense luxury, in this age of sharing: keeping moments all to myself.
There’s a balance, certainly, and I feel like I’ve achieved something with a degree of equilibrium. I’ll photograph things I like or think are interesting, but seldom post photos of myself, because I’ve found doing so makes me feel like I’m being sucked into an online world at the expense of the real world, rather than increasing the value of the real world by using digital tools.
Different people will have different preferences in achieving such a balance, of course, but this works for me, and the end result is a great sense of joy for the lifestyle I’ve built and the moments from it I DO share.
Some self-photos do sneak their way online, however, and these tend to be the aforementioned snapshots of me with other people, portraits of me making funny faces, or official-ish photo shoots for some project or another in between trips.
Thankfully this seems to be enough for my audience, and we, as a society, haven’t yet reached a point where continuous recording of every moment of every day is necessary to be part of the conversation. I hope if that day does come, it will make use of technology passive enough that I don’t have to think about it (or struggle to invent new goofy faces to fill all that additional time). There are far too many sunsets to enjoy, to waste time worrying over such things.