The worst insult to photography, and to one’s companions and fellow travelers, is indeed blocking their view. Selfies destroy their — and your — awe-inspiring and contemplative revelations of taking in a scene in real time, of simply looking. The solipsistic exercise of selfie-ism often ruins what would have been a better experience for everyone. Take those selfies when you’re the only one around!

Today, I think, and even in the heyday of photos on film, the most photographed object on Earth is the Golden Gate Bridge. It used to be cheaper to buy a postcard (by a better photographer) of any given view of the GGB than to expose and develop a single frame on a roll of 35mm film. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell that to bewildered tourists when I encountered them wasting their time and their money and the experience itself. But they’d take that picture anyway, even if it wasn’t a selfie. And, yes, people made selfies on film too. There are just more people doing it now digitally. With digital image capture, it doesn’t really cost anything to make the 10-to-the-gazillionth-power picture of than span but STOP IT ALREADY!!!!!! 😱

An acquaintance of mine once quipped, “You have a greater chance of winning the Lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.” I would say, more earnestly, one has a more memorable experience of travel by not taking a picture.

There’s hardly anything unique about anyone’s travel photos. That criticism is leveled, of course, at the “hero” shots cited in this story. But putative photographers might consider telling an actual story, instead, because photojournalists they’re not. Conversing anecdotally is more interesting than showing one’s selfies, or even looking at them yourself. Remember the erstwhile torture of watching someone else’s “slide show?”

That said, considering this story’s last illustration of selfie-taking tourists with the Hollywood Sign in the background, I couldn’t resist including my own “selfie” at the Sign. Betcha didn’t know that it had to be restored from neglect in the late 70s.

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“Not my fault!” / Tom Zimberoff at the Hollywood Sign in the 1970s

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ARTREPRENEUR, PHOTOGRAPHER, CLARINETIST, MOTORCYCLIST Fate follows the path of least resistance. Success follows the path of maximum persistence.

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