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Scary Picture

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People these days tend to photograph their way through life… but quite often they are not in the picture.

A woman said that recently during a BBC radio interview. I didn’t hear the entire programme and I don’t know her name or what she does but I agree with the point I believe she wanted to make.

Obviously people are in their own selfies, but I don’t think that’s the kind of ‘in the picture’ she was talking about.

I think she was saying many people today are far too concerned with images and that they are obsessed with their own appearance because they expect new pictures of themselves to be posted instantly on social media.

They also spend a huge amount of time taking and looking at pictures.

The lady did not think that was wise because it can prevent us from developing our skills and our personalities.

I’m writing about this now because I think she may have something there and also because I don’t understand the photo obsession.

If anyone would like to try to explain it to me, you are very welcome to write to the email address at the top of this page.

If it makes sense, I’ll be more than happy to use it in a future column.

One of my favourite things about living in Botswana is the easy access to the bush where I can hear and see wild animals and birds.

It’s an inexpensive getaway from the stresses of city and suburban life and it’s even cheaper when I drive myself, so that’s what I usually do.

Once in a while, though, I give myself a treat and book a safari drive into Chobe or Nxai Pan from one of the lodges so I can concentrate on the natural wonders.

Ironically, the first time I noticed this ‘photographing your way through life’ thing was during one of those semi-luxurious trips.

While I was taking everything in without the distractions of trying to keep the vehicle on the road and avoiding soft sand… or taking pictures, the tourist next to me was getting more and more into his camera.

At first, he looked around a bit and took a few shots.

Once he had photographed several animals, however, he was much more interested in looking at his pictures than he was at looking at more of Africa.

That was about 15 years ago when digital photography was relatively new, but still it blew my mind.

I mean the trip was only about three hours long and there was so much to see… and the photos would still be there when we left the park.

I realise that is not the same as the current fascination with posting and looking at images on social media but I think both may be the result of the same thing.

It seems a lot of people see pictures to be just as good as the real thing, just as they see Facebook and text messages to be on a par with face to face communications.

I don’t believe either one of those things is true.

Of course that may be because I am the one who isn’t in the modern day picture.