Look with your eyes, not your iPad

Imagine it. You’re at the concert of your favourite band. You’re stood in the crowd, the lights have gone down and the music is about to start. What is the first thing you do? For many people, the first thing they do is reach for their camera/phone/iPad/tablet to prepare to take hundreds upon hundreds of photos. I’ve been there; I used to do the same thing. One of my first thoughts used to be ‘I hope that I can get some decent photos tonight’. Surely you shouldn’t be thinking at all? Rather than fumbling around in your pocket for something to capture the moment with, you should just be living in the moment.

I recently attended the Isle of Wight festival and I made the decision to leave my camera behind. Don’t be mistaken, although it sounds as if I am judging those who choose to photograph and record events, I am merely making an observation. Until this particular festival, I would be known to take a camera to almost every event I attended.

It wasn’t until I was sat thinking the other day that I realised that when you take a camera to an event such as a gig, you spend most of your time looking through your lens and not enough time savouring the experience. This is why I decided to leave my camera at home and to focus on enjoying myself, rather than focusing my camera.

To my surprise, and thankfully so, the world did not implode just because I did not get the ‘perfect’ photo of Simon Neil. I found that because I was not constantly worrying about the location of my camera/iPad/tablet etc. I was able to live in the moment without fear of losing or breaking anything. Admittedly, it would be nice to have a few snaps of the day, however my photographic skills are nowhere near the brilliance of the professional photos that I can look at from the day.

A regular sight at festivals and gigs.

A regular sight at festivals and gigs.

Once the euphoria of seeing Biffy Clyro mount the stage began to settle, it occurred to me how many people were watching Biffy through their phones/cameras/tablets in the air rather than with their eyes. Although modern technology can be an aid, I am starting to think that there are instances whereby it can be a hindrance. In the times before the latest tablets and fancy cameras, people had nothing but their memories to describe their experiences to friends. Perhaps the lack of technology available meant that people were able to spend their time enjoying themselves rather than worrying about their batteries running out.

In terms of festivals and similar events, to have these experiences you’ll often be spending a substantial amount of money. Whether this is the cost of the ticket, travel or other expenses, you will usually be spending a large sum of money to attend this event. Considering the cost of your attendance, why would you have the experience in its entirety through a lens or a screen? If you’re intending to spend the entire event experiencing each moment through the confines of a screen or lens, you might as well of stayed at home and watched the festival or gig on a screen from the comfort of your living room.

Understandably, when you have the opportunity to take a photo or video of your idols, you relish at the chance, as you never know when this opportunity may arise again. I do not have a problem with this. My only problem is when your eye to iPad ratio of watching the action sees that you’ve spent more time staring at a screen rather than the magic before you. Why not try leaving your camera or tablet at home next time you head out to see a band? You never know what you might see when you actually start looking.

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