Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Snap Decisions on Other's Photos

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Snap Decisions on Other's Photos

Article excerpt

NOTHING CAN stultify the brain more than being forced to coo over someone else's photographs.

Even if you are madly keen on staying in exactly the same kind of Greek hilltop village as your friends - or on traveling across America in a pink Cadillac just as they did - there is something about the images other people capture that can render the most exciting adventure a Kodachrome banality.

Are you really interested in getting a look at Paco, the barman who always said hello to your friends in the morning? No, you are not. Your life is complete without Paco's image crowding into your already cluttered mind, but no matter. Here he is. And here he is polishing a glass. Here he is waving goodbye.

Goodbye, Paco! Get out of my face.

The torture must continue because you cannot say what you really feel. Modern etiquette demands that we cannot refuse to look at someone's holiday snaps in much the same way that we must not tell proud parents that their newborn babe looks like a skinned cat. It is just not done. So you have to grin and bear it.

Ah, your red rental car! Lovely!

How super! A picture of you eating a fried egg and 13 identical views from your hotel window. And this was your bathroom? Nice white tiles. Oh, another one of the cathedral. Goodness me, is that the time? Could you call me a taxi?

If the results of such photographic endeavors are cripplingly dull, at least there is good sport to be had in watching people actually take the blasted things.

Once I saw a Japanese gentleman videotaping the notices on a bulletin board in a hotel in London. After that, he moved his camera to capture the pattern on the carpet in the lobby. Posterity will surely thank him.

In London parks in the summer, you often see couples who look as though they should be starring in "Attack Of The Mushroom People" stripping down to their scanties and happily snapping each other's picture as if they were on a Caribbean beach.

And tell me this: How did honeymooning couples - always the worst offenders - survive without timers on cameras?

On my last all-girl holiday, six of us made some very wise rules - no cameras on the beach; no snatched shots of anyone without their makeup on; and nothing that could be used as incriminating evidence back home. …

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