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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Monday December 12 2016

As mentioned in earlier postings, I did a trawl through my photo-archives, looking for the earliest evidence I could find of people taking photos with their phones.  Here are the earliest photos I found of this characteristically C21 phenomenon.  The first one dates from April 4th 2006, and the rest were photoed between then and the end of 2006.  They are shown below in chronological order.

I was then, and have been in this posting, much more relaxed about showing the faces of strangers than I normally am here.  Now, I try not to even photo people’s faces, and when I do, I don’t post them on the blog.  But I’m hoping that ten years is the passing of enough time for this not to be a problem.

It doesn’t surprise me at all that the first person I saw doing this was a young girl, just pre-teen.  That demographic being famous early adopters of the things it likes to adopt.

Click and enjoy.  But, be warned that these pictures are necessarily of rather variable quality.  Picture quality is not the point here.  The point is what is going on, and when it was going on:

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It also says something that I often found it quite hard to work out whether what I was looking at was a phone or just a camera, and in about one or maybe two cases here, I may have got that wrong, although I don’t believe so.  But actually, one of the best things about a smartphone is that, because you can use them for so many different things, it is often hard to tell which of those things you are doing at any particular moment.

This is a big, big fact about citizen digital photography.  You often can’t tell, merely by looking at it, whether it is happening or not.

The other day I was at Tate Modern, at an exhibition where, it turned out, photography was forbidden.  I saw people very obviously taking photos, and being told to stop.  I myself took a few photos, and was told to stop.

And I saw others doing what I think was taking photos, and if so, was taking photos in a way that observers couldn’t be sure about, probably deliberately, and I didn’t see them being told to stop.  Photography is not like smoking.  You can’t just see it, and stop it.  Not all of it.  And that is partly because of smartphones.  And of course other cameras are so smart that you can’t see them at all.

Interesting photo set.. I am definitely guilty of “Just looking” at my phone when really I was taking photos in a place where they were forbidden. Good thing I never got caught, because the photos turned out perfect. :P

Posted by Austin on 13 December 2016
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