No, not that old Bobby Vee song (though now the chorus is going round in my head like serious ear-worm material). Bobby Vee had trouble with his girlfriend going off and canoodling on the beach with Some Other Guy (I hope it wasn’t the chap in the video in the blue budgie-smugglers and gyrating hips; if so, Bobby’s done for). And someone saw her doing it!
Nowadays we all see everything. And then we photograph it. And upload it to Facebook, or Instragram, or Flickr, or Twitter, or …
The sunset on Monday night was indeed spectacular. Confronted with Nature in all its magnificence I did what anyone of my age and demographic in possession of a smart phone would do: I snapped it.
Not very well, because it’s a smart phone, not a camera, and because I’m not a good photographer.
The next day I find that half of Newcastle was pointing some kind of device towards the heavens; the Herald had an entire section of the sunset from a million different angles.
Why do I find this phenomenon of mass recording, of which I am a part, so perturbing? Is it because seeing all these images gathered together reminds me of what a herd animal I am? Of how unoriginal I am? Of what a rotten photographer I am?
And what will happen to all this recorded data in 2056 when the first-wave smart-phone-owning generation start to drop off the perch? Will their children lovingly scroll through their parents’ selfies and snaps of burritos by the beach and … sunsets?
There was a time when it was enough for me to tilt my head back and look at a sunset. I need to go back there.