Mar 23 2010

No Longer Okay To Be Camera-Shy?

Now that every phone has a camera, and many can shoot video, I begin to wonder whether it’s okay to be camera-shy.  In the age of Flickr and YouTube, could those who don’t love the lens still be relevant?

I have a confession to make.  I am webcamera-shy.  I know, I know – I’m an actor. So I’m supposed to be comfortable in front of the camera, right?  And sure, when it comes to the Big Camera or even candid photographs, I’ve managed to get over my reservations.  But when it comes down to sitting in front of a webcam, I’m just not comfortable.

My good Twitter friend, @Nonglin, has twice invited me to a tinychat – a web service that hosts simple webcam chats, like a video IM.  While I’ve been genuinely busy both times, I couldn’t deny the feeling of relief I felt when I realised that I would not be sitting at my laptop in front of that camera.  It got me to thinking: in today’s camera-connected society, is it still acceptable to be any kind of camera-shy?

While there are plenty of people on Facebook and MySpace without abundant, candid photo collections, it seems the vast majority offer a complete still-life story to anyone browsing.  Add to that the number of people with Flickr, Photobucket/TinyPic, Picasa, and – dare I say – YouTube accounts, and the idea of avoiding a camera begins to feel rather back-country and old-fashioned.

I can’t say I’m surprised. Every phone, computer, and gaming device can now snap pictures and will soon be able to shoot video.  Each of these can manipulate the captured media and instantly upload or broadcast it online.  This accessibility has transformed picture and video into just another tweet stream.  What are you doing now? Show us.

So back to the webcam.  Gone are the days when video was taken on your terms, as in business videoconferencing and filming movies.  Impromptu video chats (along with surprise iPhone video clips) demand that you either always be prepared or relinquish the need for control of your image (eek).  As webcams and their streaming services proliferate, I imagine my old-fashioned insecurities will make me stand out like a stick in the mud.

Is it time to change with the times?

 Um, that’s me. =P

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Photo credits: Matching our decor like chameleons by tizzie
Demi by αℓℓ тнє яσѕєѕ ;


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