In the course of updating my website I got to thinking about how people LOOK when their picture is taken.
I say 'when their picture is taken' deliberately- is anyone really aware of how often they are photographed? Think about parties you go to, events you attend...shopping even. Most people realize that cameras are omnipresent in our world - what they don't often consider is the willingness of people to use those cameras. These days it's become trendy to photograph total strangers in department stores and post those images on websites.
This brings me back to my opening sentence; how do you look in your day-to-day ventures into the world outside your home?
If you're like me you probably have days where you just can't bother changing out of the rubber boots, torn jeans and dirty plaid shirt as you head out to the hardware store to replace a trowel that just broke whilst gardening.
Fortunately the hardware store people aren't judgmental about this kind of thing...but would you dress that way in WALMART? I don't mind looking like a grubby gardener because I actually did get grubby in the garden and am going right back into it after shopping...I didn't dress this way for the intent of shopping!
The point of all this is that nowadays people are taking photographs of other people everywhere- and those anonymous photographers focus on people who are somewhat...unkempt. PEOPLE OF WALMART is a website some of you may be familiar with. You won't find too many images of grubby gardeners but you will find plenty of images of people who just don't care about their physical appearance. I would say that 99% of the photographs are of folks who did not need to look like clowns or prostitutes- they chose to. Perhaps these are harsh words for people who are 'simply expressing their individuality and creativity' or who 'may not know better because that's how their peers dress'...or 'who had no idea they were being photographed!'(I might ad here that this isn't just happening in Walmart but in many other places.)
It's time to wake up a little and realize that looking in the mirror before you go out might not be enough these days...it just may be that you need to look at your reflection first and then imagine that image captured in a digital photograph that could be posted all over the internet.
Some may not care about this phenomena...and some may wring their hands and wail that those anonymous photographers are mean and this sort of thing shouldn't be allowed...but don't forget that it's an individual's right in this country to exhibit his or her photographs in whatever venue will host it - gallery, website, bulletin board- even photography whose only merit is to make others laugh. And the legal considerations of private versus public property won't matter much in the face of how swiftly digital images get passed around. Walmart may soon forbid cameras in their stores but that won't stop people who enjoy spying on strangers from taking pictures of them in the store...and since such is the case it probably wouldn't hurt anyone to put just a bit more effort into their appearance- for all our sakes!