Friday, October 27, 2006

Phones and fishermen

click photo to enlarge
The mobile (cell) phone has, it seems to me, two main uses. Firstly, it is a means of giving information to a distant person. Secondly, it is a method of social communication: a way of chatting. The first use was presumably what the inventors had in mind. But, during the relatively short life of this piece of technology, the second use has come to dominate the traffic between phones. For many people the ability to be in almost constant communication with a person - or many people - is now indispensable.

I don't know about you, but I think for some "texting" and calling seems to be obsessional, even compulsive! People whose phones are left at home or broken often display the anxiety and searching looks of the addict in need of a fix. It's interesting that young people, who have grown up with these devices, use them in ways that older people don't. The organising of their meetings and social lives are not tightly planned, but evolve as messages flow between friends: arrangements take on a fluidity that someone of my age finds disconcerting. And now I read that some teenagers feel desolate and foresaken if they don't have the same incoming stream of messages as their friends! This infatuation with the mobile phone makes me wonder whether we are losing the appreciation of the solitary periods in our days and lives. Many confuse the word "solitary" with "lonely". However, whilst the latter is the unwelcome absence of friends and acquaintances, the former can be a chosen and welcome state: one that allows for peace, quiet reflection and concentration. Just like fishing!

I'm no fisherman, but it seems to me that even if you pursue this hobby with a friend (as in my shot above), it remains a pleasantly solitary pastime, with plenty of time to be alone with just your own thoughts. I took this photograph on Coniston Water in England's Lake District on a misty October morning. A 400mm (35mm equivalent) lens, hand held, nicely "stacked" the receding tones of the headlands and distant hills. The figures of the fisherman, though insignificant in size, are big enough to give a necessary focus to the shot. Blank sky and water has been cropped to concentrate on the interest of the graduated shoreline. Incidentally, this photograph isn't sharp - the result of using a long lens without a tripod on a dull morning. But, frankly, I don't think with a subject like this, that matters! For another blurred image go to one of my early posts!
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen