Kanazawa can be a place that encourages you to philosophise. It is indeed a place where there are places dedicated to modern zen philosophers. With modern architectural gems that are places for learning and contemplation.
Some may say that we are guilty of the following crime.
“We put something between ourselves and the world – literally a camera; figuratively; the project of capturing – instead of ‘just being in the moment’, and so alienate ourselves from experience. We bypass direct encounter with the world altogether, converting it into the shareable memory tokens without having experienced it at all.”
It is not hard to see this at play. It could be the Geisha evening where the fake camera sounds were overbearing, not only disconnecting the photographer from the experience, but all of those around them. Perhaps, it could be the continuous video recording of a stunning internal garden at a samurai house.
We do take a lot of photos, but trust me some of our best experiences are the ones that aren’t recorded. Such as the beautiful dinner we had last night where the immediacy of the experience is important. Lifting the lid to be overwhelmed by delicate and gentle smells can be destroyed by taking a photo. The engagement with the chef and learning about the depth and richness of food. I won’t remember each course and I won’t have a photo – but I will remember the feeling of generosity and richness of the sharing of Japan’s rare seasonal foods.
When we see our video of photos it servers to remind us not only what the camera has seen but what is also unseen by the camera. I am happy to say the the camera, can be direct experience itself – it allows a study of the parts and encourages the operator to consider different perspectives.
The article from which the first quote comes from, suggests that our concerns about the camera “tend to dissipate as the technology becomes commonplace and everyday, and part of that involves the technology becoming transparent”.
I am not sure that I want the technology to become transparent, recording my life like an all-seeing eye. But I do encourage our friends in the front row, and in fact all around us, when watching a show how about not taking a photo – or if that is impossible learn to turn off the fake camera sounds. When the time is right, the camera is a part of the direct experience enriching what we see and perhaps even our perspective.