[FOUNTAIN]Keep it real in the moment

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[FOUNTAIN]Keep it real in the moment

The latest buzz word in Korean culture is “shoot.” A digital camera and a cellular phone equipped with a camera have long been valued. You can take a picture of just about anything. Some might be fun and original and others may be trivial and meaningless. You can take a picture, and if you don’t like it, it is simply erased and another shot is taken. Just like looking at a mirror, you can take a picture of yourself several times a day and also capture the lunch menu or television screen. To the “digital” people in the modern era, “shooting” almost seems like a new game and an instinct. We do not need to borrow from the quote, “Media are an extension of the human senses.” The youngsters today consider a camera a part of their body, another eye.
The younger you are, the stronger your “shooting instinct” will be. In a survey on elementary school students conducted by Wise Camp in August, the respondents prioritized the camera function as the most important in a mobile phone, more so than text messaging, playing MP3 files, taking and making calls and playing games.
Of course, the game does not end with simply taking photos. It is only complete when the photos are posted online.
And blogs, mini-homepages, and user-created content have become wildly popular. The goal is to take a picture, make it public and get attention.
For the sake of fame, many people are willing to open their personal lives, and these people are called “publizens,” a compound word of “publicity” and “citizens.”
The problem is that when you are into “shooting” so much, you can no longer enjoy the moment of experiencing the live object.
The moment someone takes out a camera, what you are looking at is no longer reality but an object within the camera frame.
At a pop concert, you can easily find some fans not looking at the stage but staring into their camera display screen as they shoot a video of the performance.
When you are on a vacation, you might fail to enjoy the scenery if you concentrate on taking a good picture.
As you repeatedly take a picture and erase it until you get the satisfying shot that deserves to be posted on your blog, the precious moments of the vacation are wasted.
As Jean Baudirillard puts it, we are living in an era when “virtual images replace and overwhelm reality.”
Minute by minute, the “Digital Kids” of this generation who have accepted the camera as a part of their bodies are voluntarily leaving routine reality and flying into the virtual images.

by Yang Sung-hee

The writer is a culture and sports desk writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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