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Updated: Sep 17, 2021

The normal use of clickbait is to divert our attention away from whatever we are looking at on the internet to something (generally) that is a whole lot less productive.

I get distracted by a different sort of clickbait … camera clickbait (you probably saw that segue-way coming). In particular by my desire to avoid the clickbait that saturates social media (“that Wanaka tree”, or noxious weeds / lupins around Lake Tekapo). I am a contrary sort of person - if its really, really popular and everyone has ‘the shot’ I do everything that I can to avoid it.

It did come as a bit of a surprise to me, when after scoping out a place that looked great for a sunset: lovely leading lines out into the water, mountain backdrop, we were joined by a steady stream of people with cellphones. Yep, we had inadvertently set ourselves up for a sunset shoot at a famous (not to us!) insta site. To be fair, the sky was pretty, the set-up great but the magic was lost with the rather obvious realisation that every man and their dog had shot the image.

This got me thinking. If we value a place because it is ‘the’ site (or, conversely we don’t value it because it is) are we short-changing our creativity and our appreciation of the natural world? Lake Te Anau is a stunning place. Without knowing we were in a hot spot we had taken shots we liked (I was there with an intrepid photography buddy), had enjoyed a sunset, had not been eaten by sandflies and had chatted with a few of the selfie posing posse. It wasn’t all bad.

To be good at photography do you need to have the shots that no-one else can replicate or should we be focusing on taking a shot that makes someone think? If all they think is “I must grab that photo for myself” at least we are motivating someone to get out and appreciate the beauty we have found.

The dark side of popularity is a whole other topic - that’s up next.


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