We are all familiar with the stereotype of eager tourists taking photographs of everything they feel that they ‘should’ see on a visit to London. Buckingham Palace. Tick.! Downing St. Tick! London Eye. Tick! Isn’t a photograph simply a ‘spark’ to reconnect with the original experience and not the experience itself?
I then noticed a Japanese tourist recently who unlike his group wasn’t snapping and then walking away having ‘done’ it. It looked like he was standing contemplating everything in Trafalgar Square. Instead of a quick pic of Nelson’s Column, he was just absorbing the atmosphere, the architecture, almost drinking in the moment. Maybe he’d been drinking a few other things apart from the moment, however either way I loved the idea of this man in calm contemplation in a sea of rushing tourists in a rather crowded city centre, contrary to his stereotypical peers.
Being the music fan that I am, it also reminded me of a recent comment by Ian Brown of the Stone Roses on stage at one of their comeback gigs a couple of years ago. He was getting annoyed about audience members filming the gig with their phones and not actually watching it when it was actually happening and said:
If you put your cameras down you might be able to live in the moment. You have a memory there of something you’ve never lived.
In a society full of constant technology, it is perhaps important to consider that although having ‘sparks’ to help you remember important moments in the past can be a lovely thing, experiencing the moment at the time you have it is surely the most wonderful thing, isn’t it?