I understand where this is coming from. people all to often do just unthinkingly reach for their cameras to record inconsequentia. I have also been situations where I know that I cannot photograph something (because I have the wrong lens or film) and I have greatly enjoyed the act of just seeing or being in the moment.
However, I take issue with the fact that one cannot experience a moment with a camera. it is interesting that this is inspired, at least according to the bibliography, by Zen Buddhism. In the long past I used to be rather keen on all things Zen and unless I have totally missed the point of Zen, the way I do photography gets me as close to experiencing the moment as I ever do in everyday life.
By this I mean that when I am looking through a viewfinder all that matters is the moment. I see the world as a series of lines and shapes, of light and shade. It is only usually after a shot has been taken that I might consciously think about the cultural implications of a shot and the world of the social human intrudes.
So although I support the sentiment, I’m not sure I agree that putting your camera down will necessarily help everyone to experience the world any the better.
*Subtext: in which I am a total snob who thinks his photography is somehow more REAL than people who snap their breakfasts and put them on instagram*
I’m especially put off by the creator’s insistence that they know the intentions of photographers. This would be a nice movement, a nice practice… if pursued by choice, but I’m wary of ‘non-photography police’ or the perception that one way is better than the other.
It’s a bit of a shame that all my books are at my studio so I can’t reference any directly (Susan Sontag’s On Photography particularly mentions experience-through-lens, and if I remember rightly it’s of more or less the same opinion as the creator — albeit a bit less cheeky about it.) It’s even more of a shame that the creator has chosen not to include any photography theory books at all in their reading list. (They say that the books they have chosen support their critique of photography, but then don’t bother explaining how.) I’d suggest adding James Elkin’s Photography Theory and What Photography Is to the reading list (and perhaps Barthes’ Camera Lucida, too, but that’s personal preference) before deciding whether using a camera to document what you do is as damaging as the non-photography movement seems to think it is. I just don’t see how they can form a project such as this without first referencing an already vibrant and debated field of study. (If they have already, I see no allusions in the text offered on the website.)
I don’t like the idea of forcing a modification of another person’s reality without their permission. Or the general practice of thinking one knows better than another, really…. This isn’t asking for a dialogue to be opened nor is it an act of dissent with an end-point, which in most cases is something I fully support (rupture of systems is how we grow.) All this is doing is just taking the piss.
Snap away or don’t, it’s your prerogative and none of my business.