11 January 2008

"The Walk Over"

I wrote an article for Granta some years ago that I wish I could locate now. I was waxing about living for the here and now and disconnecting from our techno-lives; mainly the documentation of every waking moment with digital cameras. We are becoming spectators of our own lives. Looking in from the outside like some Kafka dreamscape. Anyway, I so desperately wish I could recall what I wrote entirely but the crux of the article was about how life is infinitely just better when our eyes are our cameras and our minds are the film.

This got me thinking about the "walk over". The "walk over" is a phenom that started a few years ago. Right around the time digital cameras became mandatory accessories and social networking websites became digital heroin.

The "walk over" is a symptom of the hyperdocumentation of our lives. Let me explain what it's all about.

Jane wants a new default pic for the social networking site dujour.

Jane says to her friend Fanny, "Take a picture of me next to this stupid fucking tree with my new yellow wellies on."

Jane readies herself, lips pursed, stomach sucked, ass out, eyes all doughy. Fanny fires off a shot doing her best Leibovitz.

This magical moment has now been immortalised.

Jane relaxes, exhales and goes limp. Her lips return to normal, stomach back out, ass back in, eyes return to boredom. And Jane walks over to Fanny to review the shot. That's the "walk over".

Next time you see a group of people taking part in Friday night hyperdocumentation, watch for it. It happens EVERY TIME. The best is seeing a gaggle of people all waddle over to the camera in unison.

Imagine when we had to wait a few days for pictures to be developed! How did we ever get by?! Now we must dart over to the camera to see how every goddamn picture came out before firing off another one.

By default, technology has made us all quite vain.

in suicide photos, the "walk over" is known as "the flip"

These folks probably waited 2 years before seeing this photo!

Caught in the act, brah.


Anonymous said...

I wish I could have read the Granta article . so with you on that whole thing. also, brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I work in TV, and yet, I have no videos of my kids' childhoods, their births or my wedding. I barely have still photos of birthdays and holidays, and I have only contact sheets for my wedding.

I really don't love photos, I love memories.

I never understand people who've lost everything in natural disasters who get all weepy about losing photographs.