Nickleback once stated ‘look at this photograph, sometimes it even makes me laugh’. The song was dreadful. Moving on, still images are the subject of yet another copyrighted rant by ‘Trifles and Tidbits, a Willie Bee story’. Photographs ruin everything. You break up with a girl and then two months later you see a flawless photo of a sexy man/woman and you cannot get them out of your subconscious. But, they’ve already found themselves a better person to share their Sunday afternoons with. You still message them out of desperation. They don’t respond or the hidden laughter is blotted throughout the message back and it reverberates through your mind for weeks.
Photographs also give vain people the opportunity to edit and alter their photos to the point where the viewer doesn’t know what is real and what is fake in the end result. I mean, it is nice to know that some people waste half their day getting their third instagram for the morning absolutely perfect but it is even sadder when the viewer (namely me) takes the same amount of time to assess and dissect just how the flab turned into fab and how on earth with all the knowledge of the person in the world and all their faults, did I come to actually be mildly aroused by the end result? It’s cheating and quite frankly, it sickens me. Of course, I’m being dramatic. It is yet another first world issue that involves our vanity and our boredom which ultimately becomes another drastic waste of time.
Yet, there is something that continues to bother me when it comes to one of the most famous arts of modern earth. Photography, portraits or still images are a fascinating study of how we have changed throughout the ages. Our fashion, the size and appearance of our families, diversity of colours and cultures and new technologies can all be tracked since the first photos were produced in the 1820s. We can go further back by looking at portraits of families or particular individuals including the Mona Lisa, the most famous portrait of all time by Leonardo Da Vinci. Isn’t she beautiful?
I admire the art of photography. It captures a side of us that could remain for all eternity. Or until the 1980s/1990s/2000s/2010s are finished and we are too embarrassed to look back at the curly mullets that we thought were edgy and illustrated how fucking hip we were. We weren’t. I went through a stage where I thought I looked like Clark Gable and dressed to the occasion. I went through women like a bush fire burning through loose shrub and grassland and yet the emptiness remained. I would never be Clark Gable and the women didn’t look like Audrey Hepburn. In fact, they looked like puppets. They were puppets. And thus, I was back at square one. Lonely and deceived by my own vanity.
Maybe my criticism of the modern interpretation of this fine art is owed to my own self-destructive failures. And then I check myself and think about the very tiresome pictures in the social pages on a Sunday, or if you read the Herald Sun, everyday. I’m not quite sure if they are shoving it in our faces but it feels like whenever the sun begins to shine for more than 14 hours a day there is a plethora of chauvinistic shit fests for the corporate world. And we get the same photos of the same celebrities who are drinking the same champagne and talking about the same shit as last year. I suppose that is how the world works. It is all very repetitive. When the market for celebrity magazines is so strong and powerful we start to feel the wheel of deja vu spin around and around until we hit the same old story once more. So why does it bother me? Well, there are great photographers in the world. Professional photographers who take breathtaking pictures.
And then there are the casual photographers who capture their friends in compromising position or themselves duck-facing into the mirror with three of their mates in the bathroom on a typical Tuesday night after 3 Vodka Raspberries. Filtering their looks on Instagramming, tagging three thousand photos a weekend and perfecting their pout instead of committing to their homework. It’s great that we can capture the precious moments after our mate Johnny spews up for the third time of the night ruining a potential career in politics or we can photograph our meal at a 6 out of 10 cafe in the outer suburbs. But will this fill us with anything other than pure dread twenty years down the track? Unless you really like bagels filled with salmon then probably not.
Even worse is the obsession with filming or photographing on a smartphone during a gig or a comedy show or at a sporting event. The photos are grainy, you can’t hear the videos and no one really wants to see the vision from the perspective of a man sitting on the second level at a Bruce Springsteen show. Sure, personal memories are fantastic but why not enjoy the show whilst it takes place in front of you? Watching it through your own eyes is a shit load better than attempting to find the precise camera angle for the photo whilst juggling a beer and the hand of a random groupie who believed your tale of adventure where you bumped into Springsteen down at the local market on a Sunday afternoon. Alright, it was a lie but still, what a wicked camera angle.
Hey, I’m just spitting rhymes here bro. We all have our right to capture memories in the way we want but after a while personal photography just captures fake smiles and inward issues caused by alcoholism. It’s always just nice to chill and enjoy the moment, forget about the filter and haughtily lift our shoulders and smell the roses. Of course, if those roses are particularly pretty, capture them. Maybe even pretend that you are, like, smaller than the rose… like a bee! That would be pretty funny for about five minutes. And then look at how beautiful human photography really can be in comparison.