“Let me look on you with my own eyes”

During my career, I’ve been to a several live events from conferences, expos and music concerts. Both business and pleasure. I love live music gigs and most of us have been to a good wedding.

However with the increasing improvement of camera phones, there is something I have noticed in the past few years. People are recording and photographing everything they see throughout the event. Now this may be the culture that we live in now, but as a professional creator of images it really starts to niggle at me.

Live events are very different from watching a film or TV show or listening to music in your bedroom. It’s about absorbing the atmosphere using all of your senses. Seeing the passion of the band members as they perform on stage. Watching people tieing the knot and the emotions on their faces as they say their vows. Smelling the food on the buffet table at the reception and hearing the feeling as a singer belts out a long note. The clue is in the name, it’s a live event, it’s about feeling alive with your body’s senses. Now ask yourself, do you really want to experience this “live” event through the screen of a mobile phone? And do you really watch these videos later on and get the same experience?

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Did you notice the professional?

These events are also usually covered by a professional camera crew or photographer. They are being paid to capture the event as true as possible to actually being there. The product they producer after the event is the next best thing to actually being there yourself, if done right.

I’ve been to gigs where the person in front of me filmed the entire band’s set on their iPad, blocking my view of the stage. Are they actually going to bother watching that video back later on after the show? Will the audio quality on the clips be any good recorded through a small microphone? I can tell you already that it will be a resounding no.

I’ve also spoken to wedding photographers and videographers about the things they see at weddings nowadays. They might be trying to get a shot of the wedding guests as the bride walks down the aisle, and all they see is a sea of mobile phones. Another incident I was told about was a photographer lining up a perfect shot of the bride and groom as they kiss for the first time as husband and wife, and suddenly the mother of the bride steps into shot just as they kiss, to take a photograph on her mobile phone, blocking the entire event from the camera, something that will never be able to be recreated with the same emotions again.

Now what does the wedding photographer tell the bride and groom about missing such a key moment in the event? They have paid for a professional to take photographs, so why do the guests feel the need to try and do their job for them for free? Will they honestly be able to capture a better shot on their mobile phone than an experienced wedding photographer with a £4000 camera?

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Don’t be Vader

The way I see it, camera phones have allowed us to share every moment of our lives with others via social media. But while doing so, it has turned people into Darth Vader. Living through his mechanical suit instead of through his own body. Hence one of his last lines before he dies comes to mind. “Let me look on you with my own eyes”.

We only have one shot of life. So experience these occasions through your own body, not your mobile phone, leave that to experienced professionals.