lifestyle

This before & after photo will make you rethink everything.

By LUCY ORMONDE

Mum made me lie on the grass last weekend.

OK, I know that sounds weird. Stay with me.

It was a sunny winter Saturday in Sydney. Mum was visiting from Melbourne and we’d just been a big walk around Centennial Park, when she turned to me and demanded I hand over my car keys and iPhone.

“We’re having 20 minutes of living in the moment,” she said.

“No photos, no Twitter, no Instagram. Just take a second to breathe and relax. Lie on the ground and take in what’s around you. Just be.

I think I get where she’s coming from. And I’m worried about me too.

A new report from the BBC suggests that smartphones are killing memories; that as society, we’ve become so obsessed with capturing moments, we’re starting to tarnish our memories of them.

Remember the old saying about stopping to smell the roses? That saying died the day Apple sold its first iPhone. These days it’s more appropriate for people to notice the roses, stop to steady their cameras, take a photo. #hashtag that photo and share it with their followers. #roses #flowers #beautiful #ugh

And that’s disappointing because a) it probably takes longer than the casual ‘stop and smell,’ and b) it contradicts everything stopping to smell the roses was supposed to mean. Right?

I worry that we’re losing the ability to completely immerse ourselves in what we’re doing, whether it’s watching TV, visiting family or catching up with friends for coffee; that we’ve becoming so lost in what’s happening on the screens that we’re forgetting to stop and enjoy what’s happening around us.

Take for example this image. The top section of the photo was taken at the end of Pope John Paul II’s papacy in 2005. The second image was taken in 2013 during Pope Francis’ inaugural address.

Spot the difference?

Vatican city

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Do you think it’s possible that the people who were in Vatican City in 2013 were as mentally ‘in the moment’ as those in 2005? I think not. Just like you’re not 100 per cent focused when you’re texting and driving, chances are you’re not fully engaged in a situation when you’re trying to record a special moment on a phone.

Midway through her performance in the US last week, Beyonce told a fan to “put the damn camera down” after she tried to encourage the man to sing along with her and received no response.

“See, you can’t even sing because you’re too busy taping,” she told the fan. “I’m right in your face baby, you gotta seize this moment baby! Put that damn camera down!” The male fan then put down his smartphone and sang along.

But seriously, why pay hundreds of dollars to see Mrs Carter perform if you’re not even watching the show? This is BEYONCE, people. Why not just jump on YouTube in the days after, watch some videos from the other people who paid money to not pay attention and be done with it?

It’s as if we’ve reached a point where something didn’t happen if we don’t have photos or a video to prove it. The perfect pasta needs the perfect filer, a baby’s first steps/bowel movements/smile need at least 25 Facebook likes and a marriage proposal isn’t worth the trouble if the accompanying video doesn’t go viral.

Is anyone else feeling exhausted?

I know it’s not the time for New Year’s resolutions but I’m making some anyway.

Enough with the Instagram.

Enough with the Facebook.

Enough with taking photos of eggs on toast. They’re just eggs on bread, after all.

Enough with the filters. Enough with the checking in to every place ever. Enough with the arty shots of graffiti. Enough with pictures of feet on sand on a beach.

Enough with the fluffy dogs in cardigans.

Enough with filming every song at every concert.

Enough with ruining the moment by trying to capture it.

Let’s put the phones down on occasion, and choose the capture-worthy moments carefully.

And in the words of Queen B, “seize this moment baby!”

There will be more bread and eggs to come.

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