“Photos or it didn’t happen.”
Many of us are brainwashed into taking photos of every single thing we see, do, or eat – otherwise how will everyone know what we did? Smartphones have made photography so easy and convenient – we don’t even care about how many photos we take because they’re free.
For the sake of Instagram likes, it’s not a surprise that some people want to be the first to photograph (or film) something new, trending or maybe even forbidden. It’s a mentality of trying to be the ‘first’, or be someone who’s daring enough to challenge authority, or simply because they feel like it’s no big deal since (perhaps) everyone else does it.
It’s as if rules are meant to be broken, especially when photography is concerned.
If I paid for it, I can break the rules, right?
A recent case of photography rule-breaking involved a K-pop concert at Singapore Indoor Stadium on July 13, when a few girls were dragged out of the concert hall because they were taking unauthorised photos or videos of the Korean boyband Wanna One. One girl allegedly had her hair pulled, while others were pulled by the arm.
These unhappy fans – naturally – went on social media to complain about the aggressive behavior by security personnel. While getting roughly handled by security staff is no way to treat a concertgoer, it’s actually pretty difficult to get attendees to refrain from whipping out their phones these days. Would simply having signs and making announcements be enough to deter these would-be photographers?
Usually, security personnel would shine their torchlights at you if you’re caught taking photos – but everyone knows that it never stops hardcore fans. It’s as if paying for a concert gives them the privilege to ignore rules. Perhaps they’re just super fans who want an extra keepsake, or maybe they think everyone else does it and that it’s no big deal. No matter how dedicated a fan, that behavior is the same as not giving the artists an ounce of respect.
Common courtesy is dead
Never mind breaking the rules – some photographers/Instagrammers don’t seem to have any manners. In Ontario, Canada, a beautiful field of sunflowers was ruined by selfie-taking guests.
The sunflower farm opened its doors to the public, only to find the entire field destroyed in just two weeks in. Instagrammers with selfie-sticks and ladders clambered atop the delicate flowers for overhead shots, trampling plants along the way. Sunflower heads were plucked from stems, used as props. Some people wiggled between the narrow rows of sunflowers for cameo shots.
As if a trampled field of sunflowers wasn’t enough, visitors left behind garbage. The owners of the farm were, unsurprisingly, very upset and turned away visitors after a fortnight.
Sometimes, in the quest for that perfect Instagram photo, people tend to forget basic manners.
Breaking the rules, just because
If you’ve watched Netflix’s Dark Tourist, which explores destinations not for ordinary folks, host David Farrier is often seen trying to bend the rules as far as possible – whether it’s for the rating or simply to satisfy his privilege, nobody knows.
In one episode, he visits the “difficult-to-return-to zone” near the Fukushima nuclear disaster site in Japan on a tour with other tourists. He sneaks out into a forbidden building, simply for the thrill of it. He gets caught, but his Japanese guide managed to get him out of trouble. Herein lies the problem: people often think they’re privileged enough to get away with doing things that are forbidden. It’s only fun to break the rules when you don’t get into trouble.
In another episode, he tries to get photos of Famagusta on the island of Cyprus. Abandoned since 1975, no one is allowed to set foot in this abandoned city that was once a thriving beach resort. Obviously, the thrill of photographing something like this is irresistible and he tries a number of times to get photographs, only to get caught by the Turkish army.
The lure of urbex photography is in defying the law, and some people love the thrill of being where they shouldn’t be. Urbex photographers like “The Other Side” have been detained, almost arrested and practically banned from doing any urbexing in France or he will be in the slammer for a year and fined 15,000 Euros.
However, getting caught is not the worst thing that can happen – Eric Janssen fell to his death from a top floor of the LondonHouse hotel in Chicago while taking pictures. Obviously, daring photographers only ‘died doing what they love’, not for breaking the rules.
Look at me, I’m an influencer!
It’s not a stretch to say that influencers think they’re entitled to everything, simply because they have followers. Some influencers think so highly of themselves that asking for a free stay during a hotel’s peak period is within their rights.
In January 2018, the Charleville Lodge Hotel in Dublin, Ireland officially banned influencers from the premises after a 22-year-old YouTuber Elle Darby asked for a five-night free stay during a peak period for a couple of posts, and broke down in tears (on Youtube) when she was bluntly refused. To be fair, the hotel and cafe has far better reach than hers on social media.
According to Darby, the backlash has exposed her to a “tidal wave of hate” simply because her original email was “a very normal thing to send if you work as a social media influencer.”
This case has proven that for this social media influencer, it’s very normal to feel entitled. While it’s very normal to get rejections to proposals – many businesses, no just influencers, experience this too – it’s definitely not professional to cry about it publicly.