Don’t Stop Me NowShare
Recording cannot replace experiencing. Experiencing and connecting should always come first. So... don't stop me now!
"Tonight I'm gonna have myself a real good time I feel alive and the world it's turning inside out..."
It's Monday evening. The sky is dark, but bright light is flooding dozens of thousands of people. They are all gathered here for the same reason, and you can hear the reason loud and clear all around you. Amazing sounds you cannot stay indifferent to fills the air.
It's been years since I was at a rock concert, but I still remember the feeling of hearing thousands of people singing the same lines and seeing them moving as one to the sound of the music. So tonight my son and I are standing here in the middle of the largest group of people I was ever part of. We're here to see Queen with Adam Lambert, and we are really excited. We are standing quite far from the stage, so from my perspective, the audience is literally part of the show.
But tonight something feels different. Something in not quite as I remember it "should be." At first, I can't pinpoint it. Everything looks quite as you expect a live rock concert to be. The scale to which I'm unaccustomed is overwhelming at first. I look around me, and it feels like I'm in the middle of an ocean of stars. Small bright lights are shining all over the park. Thousands of them.
The speakers pleasantly shout "don't stop me now.... 'Cause I'm having a good time", the rhythm is accelerating, and the thousand of lights I see all around me look so out of place - like a reflection of the stars above. And then I suddenly make sense of what I see: thousands of smartphones are held above people heads, pointed at the stage, and recording the show.
This would be a good place to mention that I am a photographer. And if there's one thing I know it is that you can't shot stills or video, especially in these lighting conditions, while moving. And indeed, the numerous lights I see each floats at a fixed point. They are not moving at all.
So we are at one of the peaks of a rock concert, there's so much energy on stage, and significant part of the vast audience just… stands still. That's not how I remember concerts! You should be moving, dancing, jumping, whatever. Anything but standing still. And yet all these people came to see the band they love and hear the songs they grew up with, and… stand frozen in place while holding their smartphones with both hands in the air, hoping that no one will bump into them and ruin their masterpiece video.
Maybe I'm from another generation, but on second thought, this is Queen, not Kanye West. Most of the audience are probably around my age. Maybe even older. And yet, so many of them seems to have adopted the if-you-didn't-record-it-you-weren't-there mindset, which makes me think: am I the weird one to actually hold a beer instead of a smartphone in his hands?
These are confusing times. So many people are taking photographs, so many people are shooting videos, yet it seems so few of us are really experiencing. People are literally seeing the world through a 5-inch screen. And I'm willing to bet it looks much duller regardless of the latest display technology.
I am a photographer, so recording what I see should be a way of life for me. But recording cannot replace experiencing. Experiencing and connecting should always come first. You cannot make a meaningful creation without experiencing the world directly - without barriers. If you already played with seempli, you know you should look around you first, and only then capture your insight. You can't observe with your smartphone. And it's hard to imagine and have any original thought based on a blurry photo instead of feeling the energy of what's around you and just let it make its way into you.
I'm quite aware of how preachy this all sounds. And if you read this rant you either think this is all obvious, or that I'm way too old to understand. But in a kind of a circular argument, I will say only this: if you find yourself in the most meaningful, joyful, sad, or inspiring moments of your life holding a smartphone with the camera app launched, you owe it to yourself to try something else. You owe it to yourself at least to try and experience the moment. If it's meaningful, you will remember it. You will remember it more vividly than the blurry video you are shooting. Sure, you probably won't be able to post a live footage anywhere, but you might be able to describe what you felt. And that would be much more unique and inspiring.
It's not science - I can't prove it to you. Only you can.
Lidor’s visual artworks, which are focused on the things hundreds and thousands of people pass by in the street every day, led him to create seempli to inspire people to practice creative observation on a daily basis.
Using seempli Lidor works with people, teams, and organizations seeking to develop and enhance their creativity.