July 17: No-Photography Day

Today is National Camera Day, no kidding, and being the contrarians that we are, we present an alternative view of this snap-happy society. For those who think something didn't really happen unless they've taken a picture of it, an English photographer is urging people to step away from the camera and experience the world with their own eyes on "Non-Photography Day." Becca Bland is trying to publicize July 17 as the day when people put down their cameras and appreciate the moment.

"Experience life in an unmediated fashion, without anything in front of your eyes. Live in the moment. When you simply take photos of something, without fully engaging with it, you're assuming that all you can have and take is the actual appearance of a place — rather than other creative factors that exist in the place."
To insert a personal anecdote, I once covered the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger for a news network, and after the launch was finished, I realized that I hadn't really watched it—I had seen it through the viewfinder of a camera. To this day, I wish I would have just locked down that camera and simply watched the launch with my own eyes. I could have experienced reality, first-hand. However, the other reality would have been losing my job for missing the shot. Readers, similar experiences? Does taking pictures of an event detract from your experience of it?

Photographer urges no-photo day [BBC News]