Strangers SmilingVenturing into the realm of photographing people I don’t know – woo hoo! We sat down at a table in a mostly empty restaurant – the three of us, with our two digital cameras and a Handspring Visor, talking technical and making a fair amount of hi-tech beeping noises. The manager plunked these two people down right opposite our table, with no one else in the restaurant. (Yes, it’s probably easier for the servers to put people close-by, but you could SPACE us a little – it’s like people who sit right next to you in an otherwise empty theater – what the…. but I digress….) In the techno-beeping spirit of the moment, they proceeded to pull out a video camera, and, while they ordered drinks, but not full meals, watch some taped event that involved a lot of clapping and audience laughter. They grinned and chuckled during the entire episode, having a great time.

As they watched their video, it was like they were watching tv in a restaurant, only the fact that it was something THEY had ‘created’ (ostensibly), made it somehow not an annoying thing. Between the five of us, we had a lot of new technology represented in that little space, including the beeper on that guy’s belt, but no OBVIOUS cell phone at all – none of us three had one and I didn’t see or hear any on them either. There’s a difference of attention with cell phones that does not seem to carry over to cameras, PDAs, video cameras, or even beepers. Perhaps its an emotional focus. When you’re talking to someone else, your energy goes out to connect with THEM and leaves your actual physical focus there, almost like a shell. Most people I see walking along and talking on cell phones seem only marginally ‘present’. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 😉 Do you feel a difference when you’re walking along in a grocery store, for instance, and a person walks by you talking on a cell phone or a person walks by you alone or talking to another person who’s with them? Something for me to think about – gives me something to do. Comments, as usual, are welcome. 🙂

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