Getting the wrong picture

Josh Chan
Josh Chan

Since the first day I took on the role as a photographer for the Journal up until this point, I’ve been sworn at, yelled at, smiled at, frowned at, laughed at, threatened and hit by various objects. All of this has happened while still at the Journal house and not actually out on assignment. When I was actually on assignment, I’ve been covered in mud at the Grease Pole, hit by a puck at a Gaels game, violently threatened by drunk people during Homecoming, and generally regarded as the creepy guy who takes pictures. This, I guess, is all part of the job—to visually document events that may be printed in the media for others to see. Let’s be honest—it’s awkward, creepy, and rather invasive but was it always this way?

When I was younger, I used to be flattered if someone wanted to take a photo of me. Think about what it means to have a photo taken of you—it shows that to the photographer you capture some sort of special emotion or meaning that must be remembered, so a photo is taken.

Now with the media saturation of Facebook and tabloids, both mediums of which are notorious for incredibly unflattering and incriminating photographs, it’s no wonder that we as a society have become wary of a camera lens. It’s no longer the art of capturing special moments; rather, it’s about capturing every moment from sincere to stupid and then showing them to all your friends on your website or off your computer screen.

The rise of media saturation may be because our society is now saturated with cameras. With the advent of digital camera technology, from phones to now-affordable digital single-lens reflex cameras, what was once a hobby-driven market has turned amazingly mainstream, and anyone with a reasonably sized pocket and a working index finger can take photos of anything, anytime. With memory cards that hold hundreds of photos at one time, nothing stops us from literally taking photos all the time.

It has become a reality now that wherever we go there will always be a chance someone might bring that camera and snap you at your worst. Our society revels in our ability to print only embarrassing photos of people, especially concerning celebrities whose personal tragedies or mental breakdowns are deemed newsworthy.

But this is Kingston—any students who feel they’ve reached a sort of celebrity status have to get off their high horses and realize if you’re at a public event worth media attention, you might be photographed.

So the next time you’re in a public place and see a photographer show up, don’t make it awkward for them. You’re not a celebrity—you’re a student—and we’re not here to photograph you at your most awkward moments and then publish them. We’re just trying to do our job and the more you make it seem awkward, the more awkward it inevitably will become.

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